Linguists around the world have nominated words which they would like to see banned as part of a survey by an American University.
Words and phrases mooted for removal from our lexicon include ‘bailout, going green, friendly fire, brainstorming’ and ‘dude’ (a personal favourite, as it happens).
I agree with ‘going green’ but principally because of how terms such as that one, and others like ‘carbon footprint’ or ‘credit crunch,’ become buzz words. Flashed around by people who don’t really care for the semantics of the word, but rather seek adoration for banding around trendy phonetics.
Over exposure of anything leads one to become accustomed to, an unmoved by, even shocking things. For example, my girlfriend happily watches the news without being overly shocked by the sight of, say, the dead children in Gaza (obvious reactions aside). Whereas, watching a film the other day in which a dog was abused, she left the room saying it was too awful to watch. Where’s the logic in that?
Truth is, she’s over exposed to human suffering and has become desensitised to it.
The same goes for the aforementioned buzz words: they become vacuous and lose all meaning. We’ve all repeated a word until it sounds unrecognizable…this, I reckon, gives weight to my theory.
Well, a more inventive use of our far reaching language would prevent certain terms becoming over used. But also, taking more pride in our language would also help. Too often do I comment on incorrectly punctuated signs like those for an
’80’s disco’ or
‘Visitors Car Park’ only to be told…’sorry grammar boy: who cares?’
Maybe I’ll start a petition to set up an Académie Française style institute to preserve our language and its correct usage.
Who’s with me?
27 January 2009 13:19