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Talking Points

Original post made on Mar 21, 2008

My grimacing at incorrect word usage on restaurant menus and groaning over split infinitives on school newsletters has caused me to be ridiculed by family and friends. While called many unflattering names when I lament the decay of grammar (or especially when I slip up and correct someone), I am proud of the title given to me by a friend not too long ago: "wordsmith."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (4)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 21, 2008 at 10:08 am

Zero derivation (verbing, verbification, verbization) is getting a bum rap! As I wrote in the last thread on this topic, language changes and this is a prime example of that process in action. It helps make English a truly international language because foreign speakers don't have to remember obscure morphological suffixes, native speakers can fit new or foreign words into English easily, and the sentence is semantically more efficient. Saying "I googled..." is not much different from saying "Can you xerox this?" "Can you xeroxize this or xeroxify?" sounds whacky. Saying "make a copy" doesn't communicate the request to reproduce by xerography because a copy can be made other ways too. Equally, "Send a text" doesn't communicate the method the text is being sent. What kind of text is being sent; a letter or a business plan or a contract? When saying "I texted..." it is immediately known that the person is sending an SMS message using a cell phone. Wikipedia article on zero derivation: Web Link

Neologisms aren't the only words _affected_ by zero derivation. Affect and affect are both noun and verb (as are effect and effect). If you don't believe me, look it up.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I believe you, no need to look it uup here. What about "been had"?
As in, I been had lunch! Is them good English".

Signed, Proud to be an American


Posted by Grace, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 1, 2008 at 12:06 pm

I also grimace and scratch my head when I read the information sheets that the high school teachers hand out to the students for the parents to sign at the start of each school year. I've found many grammatical errors in these, and it's clear that many of these aren't simple typos, but glaring errors in word usage. I'm often tempted to take out the red pen and make corrections before I sign the paper, *especially* when these errors appear on the English class handout, but don't want the teacher to hold a grudge against my student for the rest of the year.

Another glaring example of the "dumbing down" of the English language is the sign on 580 Eastbound at Castro Valley: "Drive Careful".


Posted by Leslie, a resident of Dublin
on Apr 3, 2008 at 5:18 pm

I have been amused by this post. The 'dumbing down' of the whole English language is the US version!

Tyre- Tire
Colour-Color
Mum/Mummy-Mom/Mommy

I can go on. I have often wondered is this a deliberate attempt to be just different. Things should not be spelt as they should be spoken, just because it is easier


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