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GUEST,Doc Need help with sea term: flaked or faked (81* d) RE: Need help with sea term: flaked or faked 16 Aug 01

Well as I started all this by pointing out the "error" during the recording session, I'll weigh (tee hee) in with an opinion that faked is the original and correct term, misstated so often in recent times as "flaked" that the latter has become acceptable.

Another example that has occurred during my memory is the question, asked colloquially in New York City as, "I could care less?" This is the obverse, of course, of the statement, "I couldn't care less."

In the Army, however, that mixing bowl of argot, men from elsewhere than New York missed hearing the rising inflection at the end and turned the expression into the statement, "Hey, I could care less!" This actually has become the most frequently used form of the expression, even though it means exactly the opposit of what the speaker intends.

Another inelegant example of linguistic shift is the epithet, again from the New York area, of "scum bag". This amounted to calling someone a used condom and was used in rough company, as among groups of little boys, or by policemen on the job. But in the early days of TV the reference to semen was unacceptable, so the euphemism "dirt bag", which has no meaning whatever, was invented by TV censors.

Now middle-aged cops, who grew up watching early TV, call the perpetrators, "dirt bag", having not a clue as to where the term came from. In a movie I saw on (unfaked) cable the other night a cop called a guy a, "motherfucking, cocksucking dirt bag!" (That last bit must have really hurt.)

Flaked, like floundered, is simply a careless mispronunciation of the word: an error that has become acceptable only to those who are more pragmatic than they are respectful of tradition. The fact that a small number of people have been making the mistake for centuries doesn't make it any less a mistake. One should take into account, I believe, that for very good reason there has been a traditional insistance that young sailors learn proper nautical terminology.

On my ship the term is faked, and only landsmen and lubbers say flaked.


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