Friday Reflection: More mangling and misuse of the English language

YLC member Terry Barbor shares some of his pet language peeves.

human tongue wrapped in old barbed wire

Liked your article about English language erosion and misuse.

How are these for size?

"A bit unique ... more unique ... most unique"??? Do these morons know what the word means?? Unique cannot be qualified, otherwise 10 or more numbers (or even ONE) past infinity would be possible. WHAT???

Here's one I really love (NOT!!!) from our politicians "... this is a nonsense!" A nonsense???? Surely THAT's nonsense. Is there a B or C or D etc. nonsense etc.??? OK let's try some PIC not PC 'politically correct' but 'politically Incorrect’. I know it's now out there by the bucket load, but let's explore Chairman.

As the word's meaning is really Chair Manager, and the PC loopies don't know that, but there they go calling the individual running a meeting a ‘Chairperson’ thereby suggesting that the meeting is managed or controlled by a chair! What worse, if avoiding using the male reference of MAN in manager is sought then why in God's green earth call them (Male, Female or otherwise) a Chair PerSON, thereby referencing a MALE CHILD. I can accept the term, having been abbreviated from Chair Manager to Chairman, to in future be simply ‘Chair’ thereby avoiding any gender reference.  (I hope the Chairs, seats and stools of the World are not objecting to discrimination.)

If we must emasculate male preferences in the wonderful English language, what word do we use for bed linen Personchester??? I suppose I mustn't mention (Oops) person-tion such words as menstruation, manipulate or boycott!  What about a Life Buoy (sometimes pronounced ‘booey’)? Should we now have a Life Person??

Enough of my disgust and anger. Hoping you may be able to consider my thoughts on the matter.

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    COMMENTS

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    wicked
    16th Oct 2020
    4:18pm
    Oh how right you are. When our generation is no more, the English language as we know it will be no more either.
    bobm
    16th Oct 2020
    4:43pm
    Even the TV presenters are unable to use correct English. "They gotten into trouble". "They didn't get nothing"
    Just these two comments make my blood boil. Maybe I am too old to change, however we were taught how use English in the correct Text.
    TighterWriter
    16th Oct 2020
    5:20pm
    Dear Mr Barbor

    Your underlying point is valid. Your 'disgust and anger', though, are rather overshadowed by two things.

    First, your failure to do research. Perhaps you were too busy trying to be clever.
    With regard to 'chairman' you are simply wrong.
    '... the word's meaning is really Chair Manager...'
    No, it isn't. Never was. It is one of those stories along the lines of, ‘Someone told me that once'. It's a fabrication. And, in fact, 'nonsense'
    There are people who desperately want to keep the term 'Chairman', and search for justification to do so. Another similar story is that the 'man' part of the word relates to the French main, meaning 'hand', with the implication that someone 'handles' business from the Chair. Equally wrong in this case, although 'manipulate' does have a direct connection with 'handling' (from the Italian manipulare; and the Latin manus, for 'hand')
    If you are desperate, a more probable justification is to claim that 'man' comes from the Old English word mann, which apparently was gender neutral.

    Second, your own rudeness.
    Fortunately for you, not everyone leaps to name-calling when they point out an error. I certainly don't. Unfortunately, it seems to be your first resort, even when you are in error.
    I hope you have learned something.
    Arvo
    16th Oct 2020
    5:26pm
    “Colonel” is just an unwieldy disaster of phonetics and it spits in the face of the English language. Who slapped that L in there? Why did they do it? What were they trying to prove? If they wanted us all to be pronouncing it “kernel,” why did they put two O’s and no R?
    BillW41
    16th Oct 2020
    6:02pm
    I have always believed that the "man" part of "chairman" came from the Latin "manus" meaning "hand" inferring a hold on the chair. As for "colonel", it came from the Italian and Spanish for he who commanded a "column" of troops, originally a Latin word. Somehow English pronunciation became slurred in Scottish "kurnel", not "kernel". In languages other than English it is pronounced as it is spelt.
    Arvo
    17th Oct 2020
    2:05pm
    Colonel... in Spanish is pronounced as, "coronel"
    the c sounding like a "k"

    In Italian it is, "colonnello"
    the c sounding like a "k"

    In Latin it is, "colonellus"
    the c like the "k"

    Scottish gaelic is pronounced, " còirneal "
    the c like the "k"

    In Latin the letter "c" is pronounced as "chi" In English it sounds like "see"
    Angelique
    16th Oct 2020
    6:10pm
    One of my dislikes is of the use of the term "get-go". What is wrong with start or beginning? Radio presenters seem to use it a lot and I find it really annoying.
    BillW41
    16th Oct 2020
    6:12pm
    Just another thought, Russian for "Colonel" is "Polkovnik", meaning "Regimenter", "Lieutenant-Colonel" being "Podpolkovnik" or "Sub-Colonel" ("Sub-Regimenter"). German equivalent is "Oberst", simply "Chief".
    toptony
    16th Oct 2020
    7:13pm
    This topic is a can of worms. Not only is the English language being mangled, it's being butchered by the Americans. Angelique mentioned get go, how about normalcy and agreeance. Their president can't string two words together.I cringe whenever I hear him speak.
    Aggle
    16th Oct 2020
    9:15pm
    Sometimes there's a good laugh to be had when people get things wrong. Reading our local paper is far more enjoyable than it otherwise would be if everything was written correctly. Today's paper had the perfect example when recalling an incident in 1976, "The paddle boat Avoca slammed into the Mildura bridge travelling at a steady pace."
    Alan
    16th Oct 2020
    10:08pm
    Political correctness in titles. I have been working in an early election centre for the ACT elections. I am seeing quite a few enrollments and the enrollments give a gender choice of Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms and other. Overwhelmingly, the choice is Mr (male); Mrs (married females of different ages; Miss (from younger females) and Ms (from older, usually single females). No one has chosen Other. For people who are being politically correct this would be a problem but is not a problem for those I see.
    KSS
    17th Oct 2020
    6:14am
    Oh the emasculation of words is only going to get worse. There is a push from some quarters to rename body parts because they are named after the male scientists who discovered them e.g. fallopian tubes. As in all sciences, discoveries are typically named after the person who made the discovery so not only is this yet another attempt to remove men from the face of the earth, it is another attempt to rewrite history.
    Arvo
    17th Oct 2020
    1:28pm
    Don't fret too much KSS. Soon enough they will change The Bible Genesis story from Adam and Eve ...to Aida and Eve but not after a great debate ( maybe even a war) whether it should be Adam and Steve...
    BillW41
    18th Oct 2020
    2:29pm
    Arvo, don't let's get too finicky about Latin but "c" is only pronounced "chi" in Italian interpretations, otherwise it was pronounced "k". As for Roman Colonels, they were "Tribuni" (Tribunes). I concede on the Spanish "Coronel".


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