LOL! I have to say, the "misunderestimated", "orientate" crowd drive me nuts. I've given up correcting them and just ramp up my disgust at the world, and go back home to shout at the newspaper.
Originally Posted by Herman Munster
I know what you mean about the "less is better" resonating, though. When I was at university we got marks for the "style" of our proofs in math. This basically meant that shorter was better, because it forced you to draw on connections that weren't obvious to cut out chunks of mindless proof. A two-line proof was the work of a genius - a three-page proof that of a half-hearted student. As a result, I believe inherently that simpler IS often better, but the caveat to that rule is that we live in an incredibly complex world. The drive to simplify is fine, but if we end up with a generation who spell phonetically, and won't make the effort to look for combinations of words to express an abstract thought (and will fall back to an alteration of a simple word which doesn't accurately cover it), then who is going to sit back and immerse themselves in the nuances of the 26 dimensions of string theory? Wouldn't gravity be better explained as "stuff falls"? (not that I'm a proponent of string theory) The fact is that the world is hard. It's seriously hard and complicated. Having to remember silent letters and a huge array of words people will use once a year is an OK way to prepare them for it, in my opinion. Especially during the critical IQ-forming years of a child's life, where they've got the natural plasticity to soak it all up like a sponge.
Anyway. Rant. Back to the newspaper.
Oh. and back to the original question (I have attacked the straw man of altering the entire world's vocabulary here, as I am wont to do), some of my favourite books were full of made-up words. The aforementioned 1984 is one, A Clockwork Orange another. They were changing words to make an impact, though, not to "betterise". And that reminds me of "impact". That one's permeated modern language:
"The governance issues have impacted the stock price..."
IT'S A FREAKING NOUN. And that would have been yelled at the television.
Last edited by Emily MacGowan; 12-31-2011 at 01:34 PM.
"TRADITIONAL print dictionaries have long enlisted lexicographers to scrutinize new words as they pop up, weighing their merits and eventually accepting some of them.
Not Wordnik, the vast online dictionary.
No modern-day Samuel Johnson or Noah Webster ponders each prospective entry there. Instead, automatic programs search the Internet, combing the texts of news feeds, archived broadcasts, the blogosphere, Twitter posts and dozens of other sources for the raw material of Wordnik citations, says Erin McKean, a founder of the company. "
I think inventing words is fun. It just depends on where you plan to use them. In a humor piece, fine. In a philosophical treatise, not so much. Everything...even outright grammatical error, has literary utility under certain circumstances, but the key is knowing when and where to employ it. The best way I know to develop that sense is to first learn what constitutes good writing and why. Once you know that, you can more easily and effectively determine when breaking the rules yields better writing.
Emily, Kitty and John
All worthy of note.
I have been inventin words currently obtusely. I hate orientated so bad, that if that is going to sneak in under common usage definition then their bloody floodgates better be wide and mighty. I am going to 'frequency' in thru 'common usage' all sorts of carp!
No fish were harmed in the making of this message!
Damned disclaimers now, everywhere I have to protect the fishes from my writing!
I think I mentioned this elsewhere, possibly this thread. My books are covert spec ops. Generally dour and serious type peoples even amongst themselves since they are usually going to or coming from executing someone cos the govt told them to do it. They definitely avoid papers and the politics of right and wrong or their heads would explode.
I suppose a little bit of me goes into every character but if you bring up the gay one or the black one, you are in deep strife!
The section boss is the old man. He has been around for ever and he is as much a dinosaur as anyone else is. They gave him a mobile phone, here is what he had to say about that: They can make me turn it on at work but then i don't have to take it out of the office nor too or from home. When asked about not using it at home, he simply replied, "I was told it takes hours to recharge so the responsible thing is to leave it charging in my office over night so it is ready for the next day".
My MC hates them with a passion too.
SOMEONE sent the old man a text message. He is in covert special ops, of course. He faithfully copies it to paper, with a pen and then has his secretary hand deliver it to Ciphers & Codes, or whatever I called them. They laugh, first of all, then decode it into English, write it out and send a runner back with it.
When he was challenged over this... "I only speak English, that was all that was required when I joined up. If they send me messages not in English, I have C&C decode it and send it back. It works out every time, only take about three days to get it decoded and sorted.
Now I am not a Luddite, I do embrace modern technology but I will not and do now follow the "fads" that randomly pop up around the world.
I am no boor either, I don't jump down anyone's throat the instant they make an error. I will test them and possibly offer my help to get them up to speed and personally get a massive kick out of it for myself, even with no one else knowing. For me it is always the act that is worthy, not the public service announcement of the act being done.
Vocabularise yaselves peeps oh daz worlze. When the war of words comes along, you can't afford to have your head stuck down in a dickshonnarry! Eh?
It's good to know so much about yourself.
What do you think of the verb "unnerve"?
Originally Posted by Emily MacGowan
A noun plus a prefix.
A made up word by . . . Shakespeare.
And he used nouns as verbs without alteration, too. I just can't think of one off hand.
Shakespeare, really? Cool. Because I use it.
"In the UK, it is more common for people to say “orientate” whereas in the US, “orient” is more common. Writers in both countries sometimes bemoan the usage of the alternative word. In fact, both words are acceptable according to the dictionaries...The key thing to remember is that both forms of the verb are generally acceptable."
Sorry. Tom-ay-to, Tom-arrr-to.
Last edited by Susan B; 02-21-2012 at 04:02 PM.