Category: language & literature

Banned Words?

Normally I don’t care about trivial linguistic debates.  Trivial debates include how to pronounce 2010, and the right & wrong of regional dialects.  (For the record it’s “twenty-ten” and “bubbler” is the correct term and it’s not the same as “water fountain” :P )

Most ridiculous is this list that’s put out every year of banned words and phrases from Lake Superior State University (basically some elite group has decided some words/phrases are overused or just plain silly so they want them banished).  This is a culmination of what should have been Tuesday’s Lang&Lit post and today’s Crabby post.

I’m not thrilled with this list.  First, because it allows some group of people to decide what words should and shouldn’t be used for usually dumb reasons.  Second, because some words that are listed are the ones that I want to explore further when I decide to go to Grad School.  These words are what make languages evolve.  Third, because who cares?  Most of these words are “banned” because they’re simply overused or the old-fashioned elitists don’t like creativity.

Why are people so against creativity in language?  I’m as conservative as they come politically, but linguistically, I think I’m more liberal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love correcting grammar and using proper punctuation, but I think when it comes to syntax and new words: I love the changes and evolution.  “Slang” can be an interesting way to study a culture.  In language learning, you don’t truly speak like a native until you learn their slang.  This still means that in certain setting it’s always a bad idea to call your boss “dude” and type emails in all caps or all lowercase.  I think this goes for blogs, too.  STOP TYPING IN ALL LOWER CASE, YOU MORONS.  You aren’t writing a mass text to all your friends, you’re putting your thoughts into the internet for people to read and comment on – do it intelligently, especially if you’re writing about nothing except what you’re doing this weekend and your new haircut.

The 2010 list:

In these economic timeswhat times *aren’t* economic?  I can see how this is stupid.
Stimulus yes, it’s overused and yes, it probably wasn’t implemented correctly.  Maybe it should have been called a Hopeful Stimulus.
Toxic assetsI had to look this one up… but I guess it means “bad loans”?  I don’t know… I kind of like the phrasing.
Too big to fail makes no sense – get rid of it.
Transparency meaning “obvious” – I think it works.
Appseriously?  What’s so wrong with abbreviations that are grammatically correct?  What else would refer to an iPhone application?  I’m guessing the people who made this list don’t have iPhones or this wouldn’t be even suggested.  They also must be bitter that they are technologically retarded and refuse to jump to the year 20-10. Ha.
Teachable momentthe main complaint I read about this word is that it’s applicable to too many situations… since when was that bad? It’s not a terrible phrase, & I don’t care if it leaves us but I’d like it if people had intelligent reasons for wanting it gone.
Obama words I don’t like him but why not name silly things he thinks or does after him?  Didn’t everyone love doing that with Bush & Bushisms?  Oh, I forgot, we can only make fun of conservatives.  My bad.
Czar “a high authority position”.  Not sure why people hated this one so much.  I don’t listen to the news so I wasn’t really annoyed by it.
Shovel-readymeaning “ready for implementation”. I think it sounds stupid so I support the vote to remove it.
Twitter/Tweet/TwitterholicI’m fine with Twitter and the annoying people on it and their clever new terms.  What I’m not ok with is this comment from a random guy on the LSSU website, “People tweet and retweet and I just heard the word ‘tweet’ so many times it lost all meaning.”  Since when does repetition make something LOSE meaning?  He’s from Mexico, we won’t take him too seriously.
Sexting* Sexy + texts. Makes perfect sense to me. I love this new word
Bromance*I’m a fan of all man-related blended words.  Mandals (man + sandals) is another personal favorite. This should never go away.
Chillaxin’* Chill + relax. It also makes perfect sense.

Be sure to check out past banished lists, the current list & people’s idiodic comments.

*I have a special place in my heart for blending as a way to make new words.  This was a hugely important way that Old English transformed into Modern & Present Day English.  The haters of blended words need to CHILLAX because languages change!  This is what I would like to study in Grad School – word formation and language evolution.