A group meeting nearby where I live has decided that “to pluto” or in past tense “plutoed,” meaning to be devalued in character or substance, is the Word of the Year in 2006.Â Now that’s interesting.Â I would call this a case of elevating a Notword (Notverb?)Â to legitimacy.Â Hmmm….
Sky’s the limit for the American Dialect Society evidently.
Okay, okay, wars tend to change everything, but do they have to botch English usage as well?
I was hoping to leave behind the topic of the “size matters” Wall Street Journal, but an article in today’s Los Angeles Times brought the subject up again.Â What’s that about bad pennies?
I guess some would call “Pidgin” English “Pigeon” English, just as some would call Welsh “Rarebit” Welsh “Rabbit,” but that’s okay.
My experience with Pidgin English dates to the 1970s and several months I spent in Hawaii editing a publication on the fly.Â Here’s what happened to our happy little band of writers and editors by the time we headed home.Â We got used to saying, “Did you eat?” at lunchtime to try to hook up with someone for a bite to eat.Â By the time we left, the sentence had become a single Pidgin word, “Jeet?”
That may actually be beyond Pidgin English, which nonetheless contains many Notwords within its lexicon.Â Still, I never said Notwords couldn’t have charm.
The French resist every onslaught of a foreign word (sacre bleu! especially an American word or phrase) into their language through the French Academy, official arbiter of all French languageÂ usage.Â However, they usually don’t succeed; the words creep in anyway: “Je voudrais une hamburger.”
I’m with the French but on the right side of the Atlantic, so let’s stop abuse and misuse of English!
Oops, guess I blew it with my Wall Street Journal woe story.Â As it turns out, even as the size of the paper has shrunk, the content has been expanded in accordance with a couple of years of planning.Â Welcome to “Journal 3.0” (one step ahead of Web 2.0, I guess), editors and others announced in the paper as I finally got a chance to read it late last night.
The venerable Wall Street Journal, which has struck to the traditional broadsheet long past most other newspapers in the country, today appeared on my doorstep a bit midgetized.Â Instead of six columns, the front page sported just five with a narrower width to match.Â What’s going on?Â I didn’t see any announcement of the rationale.
Way back when this blog was a static Web site, a student from the University of Pennsylvania (as memory serves me) wrote me an e-mail with a question that she had to answer for an English final.Â That question involved this sentence, “We are going ice skating,” and asked the grammatical function of “ice skating” in that particular construct.
I was taken back a bit today when I visited my favorite newsrack to pick up a copy of the Orange County Register.
A top banner announced, “Saddam Hanged.”Â But just inches below it, and in a font size not much smaller, another header read, “Tribute fits the man.”
Check over on the right in the sidebar and you’ll find a Word of the Day feature.Â Click on the word for further details. Enjoy!