Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year's Language Scofflaws 2015

Television newscasters seem to be leaders in poor usage of our language. Tonight I was listening to a news story about flooding in St. Louis. The reporter used the word “devastated” three times in the same report. Don’t these people have vocabularies or at least thesauri? My late father worked in broadcasting all his adult life. He often said that broadcasters have an obligation to speak correctly because they influence the nation. He was the original grammar police.

It’s not just the media. Over-used words. Decorated words. Altered words. Where is our language going? Here is my year end commentary on words that I have noticed with some pain. Our language is misused daily, especially in the media and everyday speech. Stay tuned. More words are coming up next, sponsored by Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th edition, which probably is already out of date.

Over-Used Words
Gotcha.  Generally this means I understand what you just said. I have not heard this on television news. People everywhere seem to be saying it.
Devastated, devastation. This is a popular word for scenes of destruction or desolation. I understand victims of unfortunate events using the word in interviews, but other people can use it less frequently.
So.  So has become a way to begin a sentence, especially a response to a question. It appears to replace well.  Example: So can we find another way to begin a sentence?

Decorated Words.
I call them decorated because they have been altered with added letters, which I call decorations that do not change the meaning of the words.
Towards is the same as toward. My dictionary defines towards as toward.
Amongst. My dictionary says it is a chiefly British variant of among. It means among.
Amidst. Unhistoric for amid.
Regards is used for regard, as “in regards to.” It is ok to say “as regards,” according to the dictionary, meaning concerning.
Anyways for anyway. The dictionary accepts this, but why bother?

Altered Words.
These are used to replace the original word.
Bemuse. Used for amuse, but they don’t mean the same thing. Amuse means to keep pleasantly or enjoyably occupied. Bemuse is to preoccupy or plunge into thought.
Alright. This means “all right.” The dictionary says it is a disputed spelling of “all right.”
Ginormous. Gigantic and enormous gave birth to this coming together. It isn’t in my dictionary although I hear it frequently.

At the End of the Day.

Been there; done that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment