January 18, 2008

Evolving Words

Little blog words and phrases seem to creep in the blogulatory system from time to time. I never know who started them, which seems a pity. For example, instead of saying "via" or "by way of" and then identifying your link source, "hat tip" or "HT" is often used.

Another: if you have the same post at two blogs you don't say "also posted at" you say "cross-posted at". "Cross-posted" sounds more professional I suppose.

It reminds me how in the business world there's a stink that unaccountably forms around certain words and phrases. "Problem" became a problem, so "opportunity" became the synomyn. "Opportunity" almost immediately began to sound trite, even condescending, so "challenge" became popular since it doesn't deny the effort involved while having a positive connotation.

Sometimes business-speak goes through iterations before finding the right word. "Down-sizing", "right-sizing", "re-org" all became words to describe the process of basically laying people off. Each description has a short shelf-life due to how quickly the word becomes tainted with fear and loathing. Regular word changes are made for support of morale.

The simple Anglo-Saxon "do" has no pizazz, no power to inspire. Executives are paid to differentiate themselves from others even in terms of word usage thus everything is "executed". All plans are modified by "stratetgic" as opposed to all those pesky non-strategic plans. "Buying" is gauche, too familiar, compared to "acquiring". The word "help" could use some help, perhaps because it is seen as too patronizing to the party being helped, too redolent of welfare. "Support" is preferred, or "assist" or "serve" or "facilitate".

Integrate is a good word, so good that it should be thrown in whenever possible. I wish I could've better integrated it into this post.

I tend to use the new words or phrases with reluctance since they sound too hip and there's nothing less hip than sounding too hip. Or I use them past their shelf-life. (It turns out phat is so '90s.)

Using new words and phrases is the linguistic equivalent of the noveau riche practice of dressing ostentatiously. If the new words are extrinsically beautiful or colorful or have a sort of utility in the form of saving syllables, or if I created them, then I'm inclined to offer welcome.

I like loyalty, including loyalty to words and phrases. I don't want to be always jumping on the bandwagon even though someone first had to come up with the phrase "jumping on the bandwagon" in order to make it the cliche it is today.

~ Graphic via http://marriedtothesea.com ~

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