Annoying words, and Words You Hate

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:43 pm UTC

O NOEZ FEMNISMS

Spoiler:
oldyellr wrote:When you hear a word you want to picture what is being described in your mind, not some anonymous, genderless blob.

Why do you need to know a person's gender in order to understand statements about that person? Does this also apply to words like "accountant" or "manager"? Why is it that telling you a person's occupation isn't enough for you to conceive of that person, but telling you their gender is?


Edit: Spoiler for TEH FEMNISMS!
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby oldyellr » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why do you need to know a person's gender in order to understand statements about that person? Does this also apply to words like "accountant" or "manager"? Why is it that telling you a person's occupation isn't enough for you to conceive of that person, but telling you their gender is?

Well, I suppose it's more appropriate in the case of actor/actress. I guess it's just a backlash to Basic Human Decency on my part. Language used to be so much simpler before the special interest groups started screwing it up.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

Yeah, it was so much simpler when we had to use different words depending on the presence of boobs. :roll:
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:28 am UTC

oldyellr wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Why do you need to know a person's gender in order to understand statements about that person? Does this also apply to words like "accountant" or "manager"? Why is it that telling you a person's occupation isn't enough for you to conceive of that person, but telling you their gender is?

Well, I suppose it's more appropriate in the case of actor/actress. I guess it's just a backlash to Basic Human Decency on my part. Language used to be so much simpler before the special interest groups started screwing it up.


I'm going to have to agree with oldyellr here, with an actor/actress it is important to know whether they are male or female as that will affect the roles they can reasonably play (unless you want to hang a lampshade on it like Monty Python did with all of there many 'women') and so it is useful information.

Likewise, with a waiter/waitress, if you are in a restaurant where they like to keep continuity of the person serving you then it may be useful to inform people who arrive late of their gender so that they can work out who it is more easily.

An accountant on the other hand needs no such distinction as there is no use to knowing their gender, likewise, the manager is usually identifiable by means other than gender.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Yeah, it was so much simpler when we had to use different words depending on the presence of boobs. :roll:


And whilst we're at it, lets also get rid of the words he and she, and man and woman, it's pure sexism!
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Dimas2009 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:36 pm UTC

habitual!!! :evil:

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:21 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:with an actor/actress it is important to know whether they are male or female as that will affect the roles they can reasonably play (unless you want to hang a lampshade on it like Monty Python did with all of there many 'women') and so it is useful information
Then how about in the few cases when it's actually helpful but not obvious from other context, you just add "female actor" or "male actor"? Like, "As a female actor, she had only limited opportunities to play famous world leaders throughout history." I mean, that's already what we do with other professions when it happens to be relevant, like "There was a lot of discrimination against female doctors at that time," rather than something ridiculous like "There was a lot of discrimination against doctoresses at that time."

Also, the +ess thing for women has the additional insidious effect of reinforcing the male-as-default thing, which is rather problematic for its own reasons.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:13 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:with an actor/actress it is important to know whether they are male or female as that will affect the roles they can reasonably play (unless you want to hang a lampshade on it like Monty Python did with all of there many 'women') and so it is useful information
Then how about in the few cases when it's actually helpful but not obvious from other context, you just add "female actor" or "male actor"? Like, "As a female actor, she had only limited opportunities to play famous world leaders throughout history." I mean, that's already what we do with other professions when it happens to be relevant, like "There was a lot of discrimination against female doctors at that time," rather than something ridiculous like "There was a lot of discrimination against doctoresses at that time."

Also, the +ess thing for women has the additional insidious effect of reinforcing the male-as-default thing, which is rather problematic for its own reasons.


-ess saves a syllable. It's not much but it saves a syllable either way when it's the norm. Granted that reduces redundancy so in noisy conditions it would be less useful, but in quiet ones, it could be slightly useful.

And there is that problem with -ess but if that gets you annoyed, why not take it up with the speakers of French, Spanish, Italian etc. :P
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

I don't speak French, Spanish, Italian, etc.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:32 pm UTC

And at least in Spanish, most occupations have a suffix (-o or -a) for either gender, so it's not like the male base form plus a suffix only if it's a female.

But as TGB says, I'm not speaking those languages now. I'm speaking a language that doesn't have any grammatical gender, so why add gender where it's not required by the grammar?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:41 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Yeah, it was so much simpler when we had to use different words depending on the presence of boobs. :roll:


And whilst we're at it, lets also get rid of the words he and she, and man and woman, it's pure sexism!


No one is suggesting that identifying someone as male or female is sexist--in fact most of the examples have specified a gender for the person being described.

The addition of a 'feminizing' suffix to words means that the 'base' word refers to male. That means the basic human is male...which is sexist and also incorrect.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil42 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:37 pm UTC

I'm going to have to agree with oldyellr here, with an actor/actress it is important to know whether they are male or female as that will affect the roles they can reasonably play (unless you want to hang a lampshade on it like Monty Python did with all of there many 'women') and so it is useful information.


Whether an actor is short or tall also affects what roles they can reasonably play. So do we need separate words for them? How about black and white actors?

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Rinsaikeru » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

I doubt there will be much confusion, particularly after auditions for roles between female actors and male actors. It's simply not something that will cause any real problems.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:And while we're at it, lets also get rid of the words he and she, and man and woman, it's pure sexism!


Pronouns in English are a bit problematic. He and she are both pluralized as they. It has no plural, so they has been expanded to be the neuter plural as well.
And the lack of an indefinite singular pronoun has led to they being used in that function. That might eventually have they replace it.

So, whatever the linguistic advantages of he and she are, they might be overshadowed by all the other inadequacies of English pronouns.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Chopperman » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

Back on topic, I love the word "entertainment" (though not when it's followed by "tonight" >.>). "Mirror" and "attack" are also good words. I think "attack" is a perfect representative sound for its meaning, though it isn't onomatopoeic.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby animeHrmIne » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:49 pm UTC

Not so much words I hate as words I hate that my friend hates. She hates all forms of verbing. Period. Including verbed words like "impact", which is centuries old.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby goofy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:19 am UTC

animeHrmIne wrote:Not so much words I hate as words I hate that my friend hates. She hates all forms of verbing. Period. Including verbed words like "impact", which is centuries old.


Then I guess she hates the verbs curb, date, elbow, head, interview, panic, park, feature, loan and contact.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil42 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:48 am UTC

Not so much words I hate as words I hate that my friend hates. She hates all forms of verbing. Period. Including verbed words like "impact", which is centuries old.


They bother me too - including "impact". The thing is, there are plenty of valid ways of forming verbs from nouns, so just taking a noun and pretending it's a verb seems awfully lazy.

I do hope, by the way, that you were being ironic with the word "verbing" there!

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby goofy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:10 am UTC

Aiwendil42 wrote:They bother me too - including "impact". The thing is, there are plenty of valid ways of forming verbs from nouns


And this is one of them. It's called zero derivation. English has been really good at it since it lost most of its inflections.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:21 am UTC

Aiwendil42 wrote:They bother me too - including "impact". The thing is, there are plenty of valid ways of forming verbs from nouns, so just taking a noun and pretending it's a verb seems awfully lazy.
It's not "pretending" it's a verb. It's making it a verb by using it like a verb syntactically. Where do you draw the line, anyway? Which of these verbs bother you?

mail, strike, talk, salt, pepper, switch, bed, sleep, ship, train, stop, drink, cup, lure, mutter, dress, dizzy, divorce, fool, merge, walk, survey, question

I do hope, by the way, that you were being ironic with the word "verbing" there!
Hey now, "verb" is a perfectly cromulent verb, which serves both to explain and exemplify the action under consideration.

Incidentally, how do you feel about nouning verbs (or nounification, if you will)? Do you see that as equally lazy or doesn't it bother you so much, and why?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:36 am UTC

Incidentally, how do you feel about nouning verbs (or nounification, if you will)?

I don't see a use for it, but I'll have a think about it and get back to you.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby animeHrmIne » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:40 am UTC

Can you give examples of nouns that were verbs? I can think of verbs, and then think of the nouns associated, but they all sound legitimate to me. Then again, I verb and nounify all the time, because for some reason when I was little I picked up the notion that that's how English worked: any word can be a verb or a noun (or adjective, etc.), depending on how you use it.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Bobber » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:04 am UTC

Offer started out as a verb.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:36 am UTC

animeHrmIne wrote:Can you give examples of nouns that were verbs?
Well for one thing, there are the ones whose pronunciations change slightly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial-st ... _noun#List
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Bobber » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

That list was also posted on reddit earlier.
COINCIDENCE?!?

But yeah there are plenty of examples, and frankly the discussion is pretty silly because there is nothing wrong or abnormal about verbing nouns, nouning verbs or any other change in word meaning that happens all the time and is understood by plenty of speakers.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Some of the words for doing so become a bit cumbersome, though. Like adjectivifying. :-)
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby chridd » Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Some of the words for doing so become a bit cumbersome, though. Like adjectivifying. :-)
How about "Making the word adjective"? And "Using the word adverb"?
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby oldyellr » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

While words like "targeting" and "impacting" may have existed long ago, they came into heavy usage in just the last decade or two by talking heads, politicians and others who wanted to sound clever and educated. We didn't use them before that because we had simpler ways to say that. I believe there are lots of words like that which ordinary people find annoying just because of the type of people who use them to feign superiority.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby ndkid » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

I cannot stand the word "Hyperbole" every time I try and say it I say it wrong. I think that "exaggeration" is a far better word for that.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

oldyellr wrote:they came into heavy usage in just the last decade or two by talking heads, politicians and others who wanted to sound clever and educated.
Big ole [citation needed] on that. Methinks you're falling prey to the recency illusion a bit here.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil42 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:59 pm UTC

goofy wrote:It's called zero derivation. English has been really good at it since it lost most of its inflections.

gmalivuk wrote:It's not "pretending" it's a verb. It's making it a verb by using it like a verb syntactically.


That it has a respectable sounding name within descriptivist linguistics doesn't mean I have to like it. Nor does the fact that people have been doing it in English for a long time make me find it any less distasteful. I suppose it bothers me particularly because we have plenty suffixes in English that exist solely for the purpose of deriving words of one part of speech from words of another.

Where do you draw the line, anyway? Which of these verbs bother you?


I tend to accept verbified nouns and nominalized verbs (see what I did there with "-ify" and "-ize"? Now wasn't that easy?) more easily if they're older, certainly - not because I think zero derivation was somehow "valid" in the past in a way that it no longer is, but for the purely pragmatic reason that such words have become so firmly entrenched. Most of the ones you list don't bother me, though "bed" and "mutter" I avoid using as a verb and as a noun, respectively, myself. I suppose the other variable that influences my willingness to accept the use of a noun as a verb, or vice versa, is the degree to which the intended meaning of the word is clear. Nominalizations of verbs often pretty obviously refer to the action associated with the verb. For instance, someone who had never heard the word "talk" used as a noun would almost certainly understand what I meant by "We had a talk". On the other hand, when someone uses a noun x as a verb, the meaning of the verb is often non-obvious. "They tabled the bill" or "She'll chair the meeting" would be pretty opaque to someone who hadn't heard them before.

Note that I'm just describing my personal opinions here, and I'm not trying to justify some kind of linguistic categorical imperative - though I would certainly advise anyone who'd listen to me not to engage in this kind of suffix-less derivation.

Hey now, "verb" is a perfectly cromulent verb


I think a little more use of "-ize", "-ify", and the like would embiggen us all.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:39 pm UTC

Aiwendil42 wrote:I suppose it bothers me particularly because we have plenty suffixes in English that exist solely for the purpose of deriving words of one part of speech from words of another.
Sure, if you want to use wussy French suffixes to do the job for you.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Grop » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:00 am UTC

Some of such suffixes aren't particularly French: -ly, -dom, -ness or -hood, for instance.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:52 am UTC

The ability to easily change verbs into nouns and vice versa is by far my favorite feature of English.
I'm surprised you dislike it so much, since you seem so pro-English. From my, admittedly limited, exposure to other Indo-European languages, it seems other IE languages lack the ability to do that. Thus making English stand out in the IE families, in addition to all the other unique to English grammatical features that have popped up in the last five hundred years.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:57 am UTC

Grop wrote:Some of such suffixes aren't particularly French: -ly, -dom, -ness or -hood, for instance.
Okay, so we've got one for making adverbs from adjectives, one for making nouns from adjectives, one for making nouns from adjectives or other nouns, and one for making nouns from other nouns. Yay.

Which means we're still left with wussy French suffixes for verbing nouns and nouning verbs, or the good old-fashioned English zero derivation.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil42 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:59 am UTC

I am pro-English, but I'm no William Barnes. I think to some extent the borrowing of French elements actually enriched the language, by enlarging and diversifying the vocabulary. What I don't like is the degree to which native English words have been displaced or been made to feel somehow more rude and unlearned than the foreign alternatives. I like, for instance, that I can call a graveyard a "cemetery" if I want to; but I don't like that "cemetery" is generally the preferred term and is often felt to be the more polite word.

On verbification suffixes: before the Normans brought us '-fy', '-ize', and '-ate', nouns and verbs were more fully inflected, and verbs were typically formed from nouns not by zero derivation but by adding the infinitive suffix -(i)an. As inflections started to level during Middle English, the aforementioned suffixes abstracted from French words came to be called upon to serve that role. This seems to me like a perfectly reasonable instance of a foreign element being adopted to fill a needed role that no native element supplied. And I don't think zero derivation can be said to have been the usual method for deriving verbs from nouns at any time.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby poxic » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:36 am UTC

Aiwendil42 wrote:What I don't like is the degree to which native English words have been displaced or been made to feel somehow more rude and unlearned than the foreign alternatives

That's a ... class-ism? ... embedded in the language starting back around 1066. The Norman invasion of England set up the country with a French(ish) upper class and an English lower class. The language became stratified as well: the English swine came to mean the dirty animal, the french porc was used to describe the tasty cooked parts of the animal. A chair (French chaise) is something comfy to sit on. A stool (German stuhl = chair) is a crappy little thing you put your feet on. And so forth.
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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:47 am UTC

aiwendil42 wrote:I don't think zero derivation can be said to have been the usual method for deriving verbs from nouns at any time.


I think that's the case today. -ify and -ize carry an additional sense of "make into (stem)" for me. If someone said they "libraried a book" (this has actually happened), I understand it to mean they "checked a book out from the library," but if they say they "librarized a book" I would think they added it into a library's catalogue. Similarly, I understand the verb "to egg" to mean "to hit someone's house with eggs," but if someone "eggified" a house, I would think they somehow turned the house into an egg.

Etymonline, which is woefully inadequate here, seems to suggest -ify ultimately comes from facere, meaning "to make." -ize, of course, comes from a Greek suffix which simply turns nouns into verbs without any additional meaning, but it's taken on the same connotation for me at least. Anyone with OED access is encouraged to chime in here.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Bobber » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:23 am UTC

They tabled the bill

Wait...what the flying jehovah does this mean?
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
mrbaggins wrote:There are two tools in life, duct tape and WD40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:14 am UTC

Bobber wrote:
They tabled the bill

Wait...what the flying jehovah does this mean?


I believe it would mean that potential legislation was introduced to be debated by whatever form of parliament/congress/assembly you have in your country.
my pronouns are they

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Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Bobber » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:00 am UTC

I see... Thank you for the clarification.
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
mrbaggins wrote:There are two tools in life, duct tape and WD40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.


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