Monday, August 23, 2010

Our changing language

Sometimes I wonder if our changing Americanized English language is improving or deteriorating. Generally I think it's the latter--especially since so few people actually pronounce deteriorating correctly (just listen).

Lots of kids make a common, but very logical, language mistake. If they don't do something 'on purpose,' then it must have been done 'on accident.' It is not correct, but it makes sense. It reminds me of a quote I used to have on a chart: If English were sensible, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.

Language does adjust and change as people use it. Nauseous is officially defined as "offensive to the taste or smell, disgusting, repellent." Yet I hear people all the time using it to describe themselves, "I was nauseous all day," or "the whatever made me nauseous." I'm certain they weren't saying that they were disgusting and offensive, causing others to be affected with nausea.

The adjective they should have used is nauseated, but that is an extra couple of syllables, or it sounds less cool--I don't know.

However, if enough people used a word incorrectly, it becomes okay. My dictionary says, "Today, however, the use of nauseous to mean 'affected with nausea' is so common that it is generally considered to be standard." I'm probably going to be out of step for a while longer.

One last thing I've noticed is some people have an itch and itch it. When I have an itch, I scratch it. Has anyone else heard someone say they are itching a bug bite? Is it a local thing? My hubby claims not to have heard it used that way, but he's not the world's best listener.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Misleading sign

My son sent me this picture. Advertising is, by it's nature, a little misleading. This sign is an egregious example. If you can look very closely, there is minuscule writing after the cent sign. Guess what it says: "& up."

Following this idea, clothing stores could put out signs saying everything is $1 (as long as you could buy a pair of socks for a buck); furniture stores could advertise living room sets for $3 (I guess they could have a pair of candle holders or something for that price); and car dealerships could advertise cars for $100 (as long as there was one old clunker for a c-note). As long as there was a teeny, tiny "and up" on the sign it wouldn't technically be false.

I have seen this done on individual clothing racks in department stores, but not on such a grand scale. But again, this is Orlando, Florida, and I suppose tourists are gullible fair game.