|From:||Brian Betty <bbetty@...>|
|Date:||Monday, March 15, 1999, 16:45|
At 03:45 PM 3/12/99 -0800, you wrote: " hate to tell you this, Brian, but
"ironical" is actually a viable adjectival form, when being in used in the
sense of "given to irony." Look it up in Webster's."
I mentioned that in the post. The definition of ironical is "ironic." A tad
pointless to use the former.
"And why does "pronunciate" bother you so much? I've personally never heard
it (though I have observed "conversate"), and though it's obviously
"incorrect," I don't see what the big deal is. Language is changing all the
time; who knows, maybe some day these will be in common use in certain
dialects--such shifts are nothing unusual."
I know. But I am highly sensitive to people trying to make their cojones
seem bigger by using bigger words that have the same meaning as the
original, shorter versions. Like 'sanitation engineer' is the correct form
for City of Boston trashmen. I simply distrust people who make up such
circumlocutions in order to make themselves sound important. It's the same
with pronunciate and ironical - people use a word in an incorrect manner
BECAUSE they want to sound important - the longer the word, the more
important stuffed shirts feel. When they start making up words that serve
the same function but have useless doodads stuck on the front and end, it
drives me nuts. Linguistic change by idiots, and humourless ones at that.
Again I cite the use of "faxilate," a term I thought I made up to make fun
of such analysis errors, until I heard someone use it seriously in another
office! "Ye gods!" quoth Mrs. Shinn.
Linguistic stupidity is a different phenomenon than people simplifying
verbs, making up new terms or coining new words. I have no problem with
saying "fax" or "snailmail." I love to be inventive for the linguistic play
and to take the burden off of tired, old words. I also enjoy learning
coined words (like Tolkien's use of mathom, a useful word if ever there was
one) or archaic turns of phrase. But self-important people make me crazy.
Maybe it's just because I live in Boston; maybe someone can appreciate as I
did the South Park Johnny Cochrane: "Ladies and gentlemen of the so-called
jury; while you are cogitating and [conversating?] the emancipation
proclamation ..." I laughed, because that's the stuff that makes me crazy.
If you want to sound intelligent, learn something, don't make it up.
"I'll sign off with the comment that I've found, over time, that most of
the things prescriptivists get all hot and bothered over are really not
mistakes at all."
I agree. I mentioned also in my last post that in the future, no-one will
be annoyed by what makes me nuts.
"[Note: I apologize, Brian, if I've offended you. This isn't really
intended to be a personal attack--I just really can't stand it when
prescriptivists start pontificating, especially when they're incorrect."
Well, I was irritated because it seemed like one. I never claimed to want
everyone to speak like Dickens. I'm annoyed by pontificating myself. That's
why I'm annoyed by these misuses. Example: I once heard someone say
"misusification" seriously in an attempt to make himself look intelligent.
That doesn't make you twitch? I'm so utterly exhausted by the constant
status-battles of everyday life - people are so self-absorbed and stuck-up;
it makes me crazy when they then abuse language, a source of great joy to
me, to make themselves more swelled up.
"Language has very little, if anything, to do with the "standards" set down
in style manuals and the like--it's a living system, and can only be
declared "wrong" in terms of a set of completely arbitrary rules. What's
The rules enable us to understand each other. To stupidly make grammatical
errors while trying to make yourself look smart by talking like a Big Man
makes me really, really mad - it's so bloody stupid. It's not logical, I
guess, but neither are people.
I'm a kinky, queer, bisexual genderfucker. And they say, "write what you
know." -Cecilia Tan, 'Writing Sex,' OutWrite 1999
You need to have a magpie mind. I think you need to like shiny things.
-Samuel R. Delaney on what it takes to be a scifi writer, OutWrite 1999
Only 295 shopping days left before the end of the world.