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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Mrrzy 29 Dec 20 - 10:59 AM
Steve Shaw 29 Dec 20 - 11:32 AM
Jos 29 Dec 20 - 12:08 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Jan 21 - 01:10 PM
Nigel Parsons 02 Jan 21 - 04:46 PM
Mrrzy 03 Jan 21 - 01:26 PM
Jos 04 Jan 21 - 05:30 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Jan 21 - 06:51 PM
Lighter 04 Jan 21 - 06:55 PM
meself 04 Jan 21 - 08:56 PM
Doug Chadwick 05 Jan 21 - 05:02 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Jan 21 - 05:55 AM
Jos 05 Jan 21 - 05:14 PM
Manitas_at_home 05 Jan 21 - 11:07 PM
Ebbie 06 Jan 21 - 01:51 AM
Mrrzy 06 Jan 21 - 12:24 PM
meself 06 Jan 21 - 12:27 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 21 - 08:52 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 21 - 10:31 AM
Jos 07 Jan 21 - 10:47 AM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 21 - 10:47 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM
meself 07 Jan 21 - 02:41 PM
Nigel Parsons 07 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM
Jos 07 Jan 21 - 05:03 PM
Jos 07 Jan 21 - 05:05 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 21 - 05:27 PM
BobL 08 Jan 21 - 02:06 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 21 - 07:10 AM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 21 - 01:23 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 21 - 06:11 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 21 - 06:17 AM
Jos 09 Jan 21 - 07:14 AM
Jos 09 Jan 21 - 07:57 AM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 21 - 10:58 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 21 - 12:02 PM
Jos 09 Jan 21 - 12:37 PM
Nigel Parsons 09 Jan 21 - 01:53 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 21 - 02:47 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 21 - 03:07 PM
Nigel Parsons 10 Jan 21 - 06:56 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 21 - 07:58 AM
Lighter 10 Jan 21 - 10:57 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 21 - 12:00 PM
Jos 10 Jan 21 - 01:22 PM
BobL 11 Jan 21 - 03:00 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jan 21 - 09:41 AM
Steve Shaw 11 Jan 21 - 09:48 AM
Nigel Parsons 11 Jan 21 - 11:02 AM
Steve Shaw 11 Jan 21 - 01:56 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 10:59 AM

Ah, yes, the department of redundancy department.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 11:32 AM

"Enamoured with"

"Acquiesce to"

Two things to not do!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 12:08 PM

There is much confusion between 'a fascination with' and 'a fascination for' regarding who or what is fascinating and who is fascinated.

And I wish people wouldn't talk about laying and laying down when they mean lying and lying down.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Jan 21 - 01:10 PM

Not so much a peeve, more an amusing and surprising find, in an email from Coopers of Stortford:

Purchase of Sharp Implements/Dangerous Goods:

When ordering a sharp implement/dangerous good you are....


(Steve's in a hardware shop):

Assistant: How may I help you, sir?

Steve (holding machete picked up from shelf): Can you tell me if this is a dangerous good?

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 02 Jan 21 - 04:46 PM

Assistant (a D&D player): It's dangerous, but I don't know its 'alignment'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Jan 21 - 01:26 PM

Chaotic neutral.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 05:30 PM

Why are so many people unable to understand the difference between ancestors and descendants?
The latest edition of our local parish magazine has a page about the census, which will happen in March this year. It urges people to answer the questions truthfully because "in 2122 your answers will be available to your ancestors and they'll be using that information to try and understand how we lived our lives a hundred years in the past".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 06:51 PM

That's an easy one: there's no chance that your descendants will leave you money.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 06:55 PM

Visalia (Calif.) Daily Times, Aug. 23, 1926, on the death of Robert Tod Lincoln:

"The passing, last week, of the last remaining direct ancestor--by the
name of Lincoln--of the great Civil war [sic] President occasioned modest mention in the telegraphic news of the country."

(With thanks to my colleague, Garson O'Toole.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 08:56 PM

1926?? Isn't that back when everyone's English was perfect? Oh, dear - when, praytell, when was this Golden Age of grammatical fastidiousness?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 05 Jan 21 - 05:02 AM

That's an easy one: there's no chance that your descendants will leave you money.

So, if your child is an adult who has established a separate, single person, household and remains unmarried and childless, what will happen to their estate if they die before you without leaving a will?

DC8


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Jan 21 - 05:55 AM

As likely as a duff bottle of Hirondelle, Doug, but touché anyway!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 05 Jan 21 - 05:14 PM

For most of my life, 'wafer' has been pronounced 'wayfer' and I was happy with that. I had ice cream wafers, church Communion services used communion wafers, and anything sliced very thinly was 'wafer-thin'.
Then a few years ago, when I watched television cookery programmes, I started to hear Jamie Oliver talking about slicing food 'waffer-thin'. I laughed at him, thinking he had met the word when reading cookery books and just guessed at the pronunciation - and none of his friends had put him right. But now other people are doing it, cutting 'waffer-thin' slices.
Are churches now using communion 'waffers', as well? Are children buying ice cream 'waffers'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 05 Jan 21 - 11:07 PM

Think of Monty Python's M. Creosote and his 'waffer-thin mint's.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 01:51 AM

One of my peeves is careless errors to be published. There is just now excuse for it.

For instance, I have seen in a newspaper: Wanted: On Sight Manager.

(site and sight are frequent offenders.)

And just now I read the filing by Orange tRump's lawyers petitioning the court to toss Mary Trump's lawsuit against the family, and here is:" "Plaintiff makes outlandish and incredulous accusations in her complaint,..."

Incredulous??


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 12:24 PM

This is why I post all those headlines that made some folks accuse me of quibbling. It is worse in a published source, to me too.

Besides, they could hire me to proofread and save themselves the embarrassment!

I often tell the reporter whose byline was mis-headlined. They are sometimes grateful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 12:27 PM

I've been rather surprised at the number of 'mechanical' and usage errors in the legal documents I've read since trump took over, particularly in documents produced by trumpian lawyers, for some reason. You would think it would be second-nature for any lawyer to proofread his own legal writing ... ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 08:52 PM

"Besides, they could hire me to proofread and save themselves the embarrassment!"

Gosh, you'd be the very last person I'd hire as my proofreader, what with your yum, evvver, zucch and marvy nonsense (see recipes thread). I would prefer someone with a reasonable command of the kind of unaffected English wot we Brits tend to cherish...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 10:31 AM

Spotted a word on the BBC news website that I've never seen before, describing children from poorer backgrounds who don't have laptops at home for schoolwork as "laptopless." In light of this, I should like to propose a new noun to characterise laptopless people: they are in a state of laptoplessness. I did consider "laptoplessnessitudinousness," but I decided to go for concision, as ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 10:47 AM

So would providing them with laptops be 'laptopisation' or 'laptopisition'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 10:47 AM

None of my language usages prevent me noticing *other's* mistakes, eh! I was a jolly good proofreader when I was a proofreader... Using language creatively [like accentuating the v in marvvy] is hardly error, anyway. What is wrong with Yum, may I ask?

I gather that the folks who make up the headlines, though, are not the same folks who write the articles, so letting the actual journalist/reporter/byline person know when the headline given their article makes them (the writer) look illiterate, is usually appreciated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM

It's a bit puerile. Also, your apostrophe is in the wrong place there, Mr Superproofreader. :-)

I like the concept of an erstwhile laptopless child having being laptopised, Jos... or, I suppose, laptopized in USAville...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 02:41 PM

I believe the term is, "laptopisized" (UK: "laptopicised").


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM

"Laptopisized": about 12" * 9" * 1"


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 05:03 PM

Is the whole process 'laptopicity'

And if gardeners are given laptops will that be 'laptopiary'??


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 05:05 PM

[Apologies for the double question mark. I wasn't being pretentious - just a wobbly thumb.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 05:27 PM

Hmm. That's a small one you've got there, Nigel. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 02:06 AM

Surely someone would be laptopicised only if they had a laptopectomy?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 07:10 AM

If you unfairly diss laptops in favour of iPads, does that make you a laptopist? Guilty of laptopism?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 01:23 AM

Laptopotomy? Sounds raparian...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 06:11 AM

What if AI-bolstered laptops went all wild west on us, terrorising the planet and indulging in mass repression of the people? Would that be dyslaptopia?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 06:17 AM

"Raparian?" I can find no sensible reference to such an English adjective in any dictionary. Either you meant something else or you're induging in deliberate obscurantism...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 07:14 AM

From the publishers blurb for a book titled "Raparian Station":

"Riparian Station is an acid trip away from a universe ordered by God into the recesses of nihilism finding a surf film, good fishing, and meaning in being a one of in a chaotic universe rather than a step in a cycle."

I'm none the wiser.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 07:57 AM

I should point out that the illustration showing the book cover spells it "Raparian". The blurb writer must have been writing it on a device using Autocorrect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 10:58 AM

I learned that term from Hyacinth ["it's pronounced Bouquet!"] Bucket, on Keeping Up Appearances, for the philistines. Yes, it was deliberately obfuscating. Which I normally eschew. I guessed at the spelling.

But the word Laptopotomy made me think of the great, grey-green greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees. That is a literary reference. Crossed with Ptolemy, which made me think of the Nile.

And so from the rivers we get to the word riparian, which means relating to riverbanks. Or did at some point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 12:02 PM

The word used by Hyacinth was riparian.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 12:37 PM

If I had seen the correct spelling - riparian - I wouldn't have spent time searching for raparian. I could have bypassed the great grey green greasy Limpopo with its fever trees and jumped straight to the river bank via "hippopotami".

[And, yes, I do know it's hippopotamuses.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 01:53 PM

[And, yes, I do know it's hippopotamuses.]
Most online dictionaries (at a quick glance) seem to accept either plural.

Flanders & Swann: "A regular army of hippopotami"!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 02:47 PM

Rhymers' licence, Nigel. You'll be singing the praises of octopi, viri and fora next...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 21 - 03:07 PM

And I do find the confusion between singulars and plurals to be a very strange phenomena...


Come on, folks, it's Saturday night!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 06:56 AM

Rhymers' licence, Nigel. You'll be singing the praises of octopi, viri and fora next...

Steve, no rhymers' licence required.
I have now extended my search beyond just 'general online dictionaries'.
My Collins Dictionary, and my 'Shorter Oxford' both give the two options for the plural, as do the online entries from those publishers:
Collins Dictionary .com
Oxford learner's dictionary


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 07:58 AM

Dictionaries merely reflect usage, Nigel, and they don't pass judgement. Clearly, "hippopotami" is in currency so dictionaries would report it. What dictionaries won't tell you is that you might look a bit of a twit if you use "hippopotami" in anything other than a humorous context, for example, if you were writing a treatise on the biology of, er, hippopotami... I do that fun thing meself, frequently, whenever more than one hippopotamus is on the radar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 10:57 AM

Dictionaries pass judgment all the time.

First they decide what they think is worth entering.

Then, if they like, they apply such labels as "colloquial," "informal," "slang," "nonstandard," "archaic," "obsolete," "regional," "U.S.," "Brit.," "Austral.," and occasionally "substandard."

"Hippopotami" bears no label.

One label rarely seen is "Not in technical use." That covers things like "virus" used to mean "any illness." No professional epidemiological discussion would use "virus" that way, even though millions of people do and would, because technically it is wrong.

"Hippopotami," presumably, is likewise "not in technical use," though it's a stylistic rather than a terminological issue.

OED accepts without comment "Plural unchanged, hippoppotamus, hippopotami."

"An Account of Several Late Voyages and Discoveries to the South and North" (1694) tells of "Hippopotami" at the Cape of Good Hope.

Among other serious users of "hippopotami" was David Livingstone in 1865.

Sounding funny doesn't make it essentially humorous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 12:00 PM

Dictionaries don't pass judgement in the sense that they don't tell you what's right or wrong. It is their job to define words, to include all words that are in common usage and to interpret contexts in which words may be used. Of course, the latter requires judgement, but not in the sense you meant.

As for hippopotami, it's plainly not wrong, but as for how its usage is regarded it all depends on where you look it up. For example, from lexico.com:

"Other words ending in -us show a very varied pattern. Like octopi, the plural hippopotami is now generally taken to be either funny or absurdly pedantic, and the usual plural is hippopotamuses."

We can all indulge in confirmation bias.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 01:22 PM

I was told that the plurals depend on whether the word is based on Latin, as in fungus/fungi, or Greek as in hippopotamus, meaning 'horse of the river' [hippos = horse; potamos = river], and octopus [okto = eight; pous = foot].
This is confirmed by my Concise Oxford Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 03:00 AM

I'm no polyglot, but other languages fascinate me. English has plenty of Latin plurals, correct and incorrect, but for some reason no Greek, which I understand would be hippopotamoi, octopoi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 09:41 AM

Steve,
Dictionaries don't pass judgement in the sense that they don't tell you what's right or wrong. It is their job to define words,

Surely, by your reasoning, it is not their job to define words, but to state what definitions are being given (by users) to the words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 09:48 AM

If I'd said they give the definitions of words, would that've been all right? And don't call me Shirley...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 11:02 AM

Yes, they give the definitions of words is more accurate.
And the "Don't call me Shirley" quip only works in the spoken language.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 01:56 PM

Then do what I do and read out the posts out loud in your head.


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