My last IDEAL-blog mentioned the festive events around Xmas-Advent and all the corresponding commercial activities, not only in Brighton/UK where IDEAL-English Language and Culture has been based for many years.
The first IDEAL-blog of 2018 is about a different kind of a sorry advent – that of the arrival of nouns used as verbs and linguistic added “coatings” on words and phrases that send its original meaning to a different planet of comprehension. We are disturbingly seeing an increasing amount of shifting patterns of English. I have collected some of them over the past few weeks.
Britain has long, and rightly, welcomed immigrants. Our language has been enriched in diverse ways by incomers. We would be a poorer place without their valuable contribution. Where would the book review be without “Bildungsroman”? And look how useful the word “Zeitgeist” has become. I am sure that there are also some useful American imports, although, offhand, they are eluding me at the moment – sorry! Do you know of any? Please let me know!
They all point to our language being ever fluid, ever changing and, for the most part, enhanced. Yet there are some constructions that still irritate me a lot. If there were any linguistic crimes, one of them would certainly be using nouns as verbs as often as possible. High on that list are (I have heard and read them many a times, not only over the past fortnight!) “reference” and “impact”. Only yesterday, I heard a business reporter on TV use “headquarter” as a verb. I couldn’t believe it, but here we go! Then there are such distorted verbs such as “surveill” and “euthanise”. What on earth is wrong with “monitor” and “put down”?
But for the fullest flowering of such linguistic mutilations, I suggest you look no further than the upcoming Winter Olympics, which begin in South Korea on 9 February. For here, during a festival of quite pointless sporting pursuits, you will be witness to an effusion of, “I’m really hoping to medal in the cross-country luge” (luge= a sledge used for racing on ice) or, “My aim is to podium in the eight-man ski jump”.
PLEASE, kindly refrain from the above and stick to, “I really hope to be in the top three and win a medal”, and leave it at that. It’s not a lot to ask. Keep it short and simple!
We, at IDEAL-Brighton/UK, always strive to teach and apply the traditional Queen’s English and its rules. However, we are also open to “new words and phrases” which are inevitably “produced” in our fast-moving world thanks to its ever changing demands (e.g. “fake news” and “alternative facts”). Please let us know if you have come across any words and/or funny expressions that can’t be found in any English dictionaries. Thank you. Take care and take it easy when you think that you are “impacting” too much of your energy “into” your workplace.
Best wishes to you and your families,
Peter and all the others from IDEAL-Brighton/UK