Wednesday, April 21, 2010

English as she is spoke.

One of the things that (in the immortal words of Mark Harris) "really rubs my goat the wrong way" is the misuse of the English language. Specifically, when perfectly good words are appropriated and redefined in order to addle, confuse or obfuscate rather than to clarify.

"Gay" is one such example. It's original meaning has been redefined and through redefinition, a perfectly good word has been destroyed. I worry now about Don. Do his parents know? (Don we now our gay apparel.)

In the past I've written about the destruction of the word "content." It used to mean something of import. Now it's anything crap you can digitize. Today, however, I'd like to consider the word "experience."

I have a client who says, I want people to be able to "experience" an ad. To this client taking an online quiz on retirement isn't taking a quiz. It's "engaging in the app experience."

Last summer, I went to Cairo. I climbed up a 53-degree slope through a stairway inside a Pyramid to a room that held a 4,000-year-old sarcophagus. That was an experience. Storming a beach during D-Day was an experience. Rolling over an ad isn't and never will be.


Tore Claesson said...

not to mention the word passionate.

wyatt said...

my grandmother and I oft complain about solecists and their ilk.

sol·e·cism (sl-szm, sl-)
1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.
2. A violation of etiquette.
3. An impropriety, mistake, or incongruity.

Mummy Addled said...

I remember having an argument with my primary school music teacher about the word 'Gay'.

She changed the words of the Kookaburra song - "Laugh Kookaburra, Laugh Kookaburra, Gay your life must be," - and put a 'great' in instead. I was not amused. Why should the song change just because some idiots in the back row might laugh at it? But then, I was amused after a few minutes of her trying to tiptoe around the reasons why she had changed it. Being embarrassed about being embarrassed about a silly word in a children's song? Pah!

Power to the Pedants!