Well yes, suppose so

I know, I know, it’s not important in the great scheme of things. But precision in language is yet another thing we’ve lost

That definition of male and female being one of them?

13 thoughts on “Well yes, suppose so”

  1. Can they distinguish a rammy from a stishy from a stramash?

    As for the culture clash, I’ve never got used to “motor” for car or “cycle” for bike. Barbaric, innit?

  2. For the first time in four years, I peer reviewed a report for a particular engineer. He phoned me to ask how it was going and I observed that I would have made more progress had he written it in English. He responded: “God, I’ve missed this”.

  3. The Meissen Bison

    Candidly, this post is lacking a hallmark “the point being” or a “no?” or some mangled latin.

  4. The thing is, language changes and what where once annoying affectations eventually become common usage. I long ago realised that it was futile to get wound up about it so now I try not to be too bothered about such things. The one that grates just now is the expression ‘for free’. Countless radio ads constantly telling us that we will get this or that thing for free, rather than saying that we will get it free. In any case for free in each case actually means included in the price so it’s not really free anyway. I need to try harder I suppose.

  5. Another one is people that don’t know the difference between were Where wear and ware. Sigh.

  6. … or spell the past tense of the verb “to lead” as ‘lead’ – “lambs lead to the slaughter”.

    Back to ‘for free’, inserting superfluous prepositions is a septic thing, probably because colonies tend to freeze the language around the date of their creation – e.g. Afrikaans is antique Dutch, closer to modern Flemish. So now we may no longer cook or fry something, we must ‘cook off’ or ‘fry off’. Off what?

  7. I once had an interesting talk with a German who studied the development of languages (English in particular). I was moaning about changing English but he did point out it changed and developed all the time. He cited the archaic spellings of to-day and to-morrow among others.

    I’m sure someone at the time bemoaned the ‘modern’ ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ as an example of how standards were slipping.

    Interesting stuff.

    I’m sure I read somewhere that some dictionary is now defining ‘literally’ as not necessarily meaning literally. I literally exploded when I read that.

  8. @ Chris Miller

    “..we must ‘cook off’ or ‘fry off’.”

    Also pubs now ‘pan fry’ things, as opposed, I suppose, to frying them in a shoe.

  9. ‘”lost their battle” It implies that people who die of cancer didn’t fight hard enough’

    It’s a metaphor, quite different from the other categories which were vernacular. And you don’t avoid it because the metaphor doesn’t map to reality you may chose to avoid it because it is cliche. It’s lost its evocative power through overuse. Not that a tabloid would give a toss about that.

    And anyway if you lose a battle against a superior enemy having fought to the death, you literally could not have fought harder.

  10. ooh by the way my current reading material is Portuguese irregular verbs by Alexander McCall Smith. Might appeal to some in this parish.

    The main protaganist is a German rare language expert, he gets into situations around Europe by being very German to the point of autism.

    very pleasurable.

  11. “Also pubs now ‘pan fry’ things, as opposed, I suppose, to frying them in a shoe.”

    I think as opposed to deep-fat frying, as you would cook chips

  12. The one that bothersome the most is the distinction between breeches and breaches. It seems that we’ve had many computer security breeches lately. And that’s just pants.

  13. I had an internet kerfuffle this week over “policy makers.”

    There used to be economic policy makers, but in the last few years, to my distaste, there have become general “policy makers.”

    Studies have “summaries for policy makers.”

    Living in the formerly free U.S., we don’t need no stinkin’ policy makers. But as far as language is concerned, “policy makers” is now considered acceptable.

    I consider Congress to be law makers. Not policy makers. Policy makers are squishy fascists attempting central control of private business. We are a country of laws, not policies.

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