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Tpaktop2_1

Are we lazy with words now?

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02:05 Inconceivable

I work on a help desk and notice these things on how people report on service incidents. One of the things I have been noticing of the past couple of years is the way the English language is being butchered by everyone. I suppose one can blame COVID-19, but I think being a word user is going out of style. Its like we suddenly fell out of favor with the word because we don't likes its meaning.

To give examples:

  • Soon = To me that means a short time. However, in other places in the world they think it means 2 to 5 years.
  • NARC = To me that means to inform on a narcotics issue with the police. Today people use NARC for people that snitch. Then why not use the word "Snitch"? Are they scared in using that word?
  • Multiple = To me that mean more that three times, as in multiple times. However some people think its OK in saying two times for an incident to use multiple for their statement. In that case I think the word couple would be used.
  • Defunding = To some this mean demobilization or disbanding. I look at this word in economic terms not as a labor force reduction.
  • Irregardless = Not even a real word. The real word is regardless, such as “regardless of”
  • Runners-up, or Passers-by – There is no plural of this word phrase. Its either Runner-up or Passer-by
  • Ironic = To me it means exact opposite of what you would expect. Not unfortunate
  • What-not = Not even a real word. You are better off in saying “uhh”

What I think is happening is that we are more sensitive in our communications of late that we have to make sure the train of thought has got to get out immediately and passionately. I can understand slang in English, but I can not understand why people use words wrong in their definition. I don't want to see a George Orwell Oceania Ignsoc Newspeak come into existence. What words do you guys hear that are being abused in their usage?
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Tpaktop2_1 said:

02:05 Inconceivable

English tends to give a single word different meanings. There are common meanings of words and then there are special meanings. For instance a "theory" as used commonly means little more than an informed opinion at best. However a theory in the scientific world is as close to factual explanation of how the world works as scientifically possible and can be used to derive models that can predict reality. Unfortunately in common conversation the participants may be thinking of completely different things when they use a word. This is why Spinoza always defined his terms so that their would be no confusion as to what he meant.

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10 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

However a theory in the scientific world is as close to factual explanation of how the world works as scientifically possible and can be used to derive models that can predict reality.

Almost, I'd consider scientific laws the closest you get to explaining real world phenomena with theory just a step below that. Language has been morphing since its inception. For instance, if one reads Shakespeare it is important to check on the definitions of many words used at that time as their meaning has changed.

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Being English (born and living most my life in England) but now working in Florida I’m appalled by many of the official business emails I receive and there misuse of words. The most irritating are as follows :

• There, their and they’re

• Where, were and we’re

• It’s and its

and one I often see here,

• Loose instead of lose

I was born in Sunderland (far NE coast of England) and listening to me speak you’d here a lot of slang use of words. I’d say “Me Mam and Dad (or Me Ma and Da)”.

My boss, when I first came here told me “whilst” was a word that didn’t exist yet he claimed to be an English major. The word exists but admittedly may be a little old.

BTW (a lot of these abbreviations are used now) both the OP and second post include incorrect grammar or the wrong use of a word ... hoisted by ones own petard! :Smile_trollface:

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26 minutes ago, Bravo4zero said:

Being English (born and living most my life in England) but now working in Florida I’m appalled by many of the official business emails I receive and there misuse of words. The most irritating are as follows :

• There, their and they’re

• Where, were and we’re

• It’s and its

and one I often see here,

• Loose instead of lose

I was born in Sunderland (far NE coast of England) and listening to me speak you’d here a lot of slang use of words. I’d say “Me Mam and Dad (or Me Ma and Da)”.

My boss, when I first came here told me “whilst” was a word that didn’t exist yet he claimed to be an English major. The word exists but admittedly may be a little old.

BTW (a lot of these abbreviations are used now) both the OP and second post include incorrect grammar or the wrong use of a word ... hoisted by ones own petard! :Smile_trollface:

Tsk tsk.

I am a grammar stickler too.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Bravo4zero said:

Being English (born and living most my life in England) but now working in Florida I’m appalled by many of the official business emails I receive and there misuse of words. The most irritating are as follows :

• There, their and they’re

• Where, were and we’re

• It’s and its

and one I often see here,

• Loose instead of lose

I was born in Sunderland (far NE coast of England) and listening to me speak you’d here a lot of slang use of words. I’d say “Me Mam and Dad (or Me Ma and Da)”.

My boss, when I first came here told me “whilst” was a word that didn’t exist yet he claimed to be an English major. The word exists but admittedly may be a little old.

BTW (a lot of these abbreviations are used now) both the OP and second post include incorrect grammar or the wrong use of a word ... hoisted by ones own petard! :Smile_trollface:

 

24 minutes ago, alexf24 said:

Tsk tsk.

I am a grammar stickler too.

I am not a wordsmith guys and my grammar and syntax sucks sometimes. At least I try to do right in writing things. It's like people have given up trying with English. 

Edited by Tpaktop2_1
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55 minutes ago, RipNuN2 said:

Almost, I'd consider scientific laws the closest you get to explaining real world phenomena with theory just a step below that. 

Scientific laws are not explanations, they are mathematical descriptions of phenomena. They show how something acts but don't explain why it does so. Scientific laws are incorporated into scientific theories. For instance, electrical circuit theory contains Ohm's law, Kirchhoff's circuit laws, etc.

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1 hour ago, Tpaktop2_1 said:

One of the things I have been noticing of the past couple of years is the way the English language is being butchered by everyone. 

Sadly, it is not only restricted to English language. This is an article (sorry, couldn't find an english version) about a study made by a french neuro-scientist, he finds that the "Digital Native" generation is the first in recorded history to have lesser IQ avg test values that its predecessor. 

https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-54554333

Personally, I blame a lot of this on the drop of reading habits. The written word is by nature a more formal experience, the mistakes you make endure and are in plain sight for everyone to see. Spoken word is transitory in nature, mistakes can pile up with little consequence as no evidence remains (unless recorded) as the flow of speech moves forward. 

Edited by ArIskandir
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Some of it is indeed people not knowing how English works. My personal pet peeve (which I got from my mom) is misuse of apostrophes. Just because it's plural doesn't mean it needs an apostrophe. And then there's the misuse of its and it's. Also, as a scientist it always irritates me when people use a big word in a context that makes no sense. You might sound smart to people who don't know what they're doing, but to anyone who does you just sound like an idiot.

 

However, as a Latin major if there was one thing I learned it's that language changes over time. There's no definitive correct version of a language, meanings of words change, often significantly over time. Early English is indecipherable to most of us now, and it's the same thing now. Obviously we only see relatively small changes in our lifetimes, but language does change. Yes, that word may not be used in the same way it was when we were younger. But that doesn't mean people don't know what it means, it means that the use of the word has changed. That's just how language evolves. 

Also words have different meanings in different contexts. For example, for most people the word downfield probably makes you thing football. But for me as a chemist it makes me think of NMR spectra and shifts. Neither use is wrong, but the word means completely different things depending on context. And that goes into the mixing pot that is language evolution.

So yes, some of it is people not knowing (or caring) about the commonly accepted "right" way to say something. But part of it is also the ongoing evolution of the English language.

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1 hour ago, Tpaktop2_1 said:

 

I am not a wordsmith guys and my grammar and syntax sucks sometimes. At least I try to do right in writing things. It's like people have given up trying with English. 

I think we’re all “guilty” of that sometimes mate! Texting and the use of mobile phones for forum use as an example cause us to be the biggest offenders. Auto-correct or auto-incorrect as I like to call it can also cause unreadable sentences and use of the incorrect words.

Who knows, the English language may survive! :Smile_Default:

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2 hours ago, Tpaktop2_1 said:

Runners-up, or Passers-by

Runner up, yes there would always be only one. The first loser.

Passers by, is appropriate in cases of 2 or more people passing by the scene.

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1 hour ago, AJTP89 said:

... However, as a Latin major if there was one thing I learned it's that language changes over time. There's no definitive correct version of a language, meanings of words change, often significantly over time. Early English is indecipherable to most of us now, and it's the same thing now. Obviously we only see relatively small changes in our lifetimes, but language does change. Yes, that word may not be used in the same way it was when we were younger. But that doesn't mean people don't know what it means, it means that the use of the word has changed. That's just how language evolves. 

Latin Major? Nice. I am studying Latin with Luke Ranieri - http://www.scorpiomartianus.com/ and his number of YouTube videos teaching Latin. Fun stuff.

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5 minutes ago, alexf24 said:

Latin Major? Nice. I am studying Latin with Luke Ranieri - http://www.scorpiomartianus.com/ and his number of YouTube videos teaching Latin. Fun stuff.

Yeah, I had a lot of Latin coming into college so just did that major along with my chemistry degree. 4 years of latin literature, lot of really niche knowledge:Smile_teethhappy: Now I'm getting my PhD in chemistry, so probably won't ever use it again:Smile_sceptic: Oh well, it was fun, definitely gives you a different perspective on language and also modern history.

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1 minute ago, alexf24 said:

Latin Major? Nice. I am studying Latin with Luke Ranieri - http://www.scorpiomartianus.com/ and his number of YouTube videos teaching Latin. Fun stuff.

Being a "latin" language native speaker gives you a significant buff towards Latin comprehension, it is very interesting how you can get a basic understanding of a language centuries removed from yours. How are you finding Latin in comparison to English?

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1 hour ago, AJTP89 said:

Also, as a scientist it always irritates me when people use a big word in a context that makes no sense. You might sound smart to people who don't know what they're doing, but to anyone who does you just sound like an idiot.

Scientific words can make it sound like you know more than you actually do.

:fish_nerv:"Hey doc I've got a pain in the side of my ankle."

:cap_yes:"Hmm... you appear to have a lateral, talocrural algia. Here take these pills (aspirin). That will be $500." 

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like, OMG, dude. whatever.

very much like soccer is the root of all evil globally, texting has been the knife in the spleen of English, as we knew it.

spud

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2 hours ago, ArIskandir said:

Being a "latin" language native speaker gives you a significant buff towards Latin comprehension, it is very interesting how you can get a basic understanding of a language centuries removed from yours. How are you finding Latin in comparison to English?

As I am a Latin language native speaker it makes it fairly easy to learn, at least to  a point.

It is very different from English (my 2nd language), but speaking a few other romance languages makes it easier for me.

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My personal pet peeve is "different than".  Something is different from something else, not different than it.

 

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50 minutes ago, LiskaBystrouska said:

My personal pet peeve is "different than".  Something is different from something else, not different than it.

 

I'm with you on that one Lyska.

My main are their/there and it's/its

A tougher one is the misuse of less when it should be fewer.

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3 hours ago, LiskaBystrouska said:

My personal pet peeve is "different than".  Something is different from something else, not different than it.

 

"Different than" is commonly used in American English has has been for a couple centuries. If you think of it, "taller than," "shorter than," "larger than," "smaller than" etc. are all describing things that are different than something else.

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10 hours ago, Snargfargle said:

"Different than" is commonly used in American English has has been for a couple centuries. If you think of it, "taller than," "shorter than," "larger than," "smaller than" etc. are all describing things that are different than something else.

All of those examples are about relative quantities, whereas "different" is not.

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8 minutes ago, LiskaBystrouska said:

All of those examples are about relative quantities, whereas "different" is not.

Whether the grammar of a phrase is "proper" or not is oftentimes irrelevant if that's the way people commonly speak, and have done so for hundreds of years. 

Quote

If you don’t give a fig for what nitpickers think about your language use, proceed with different than or different from depending on how you feel. -- Merriam Webster Dictionary 

 

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