Using the wrong word

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Oli, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't that a hiphop thing?
     
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  3. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Probably more of an illiterate thing.
     
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  5. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    That was the last time Cindy & me walked home from the store together.

    She gave it to Gail & I.
     
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  7. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    You're good. Not to prod, but I do know how to write properly. I just didn't care enough to use perfect grammar, vocabulary, etc.

    I mean, what would the point be? I got what I needed to say. I was just looking for more obvious ones.

    BUT the redundancy correction was valid. I actually didn't know that one.
     
  8. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

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    Again, the goal is communication, so a "mindless muddled mess" would be suboptimal, but here we are I presume discussing errors that are common to somewhat larger groups. Were I hiring a customer service representative, I'd rather hire someone who speaks in the same manner with the same vocabulary as the customer with whom he will be dealing that someone who precisely speaks only in the Received Pronunciation and the vocabulary of graduate student in English.

    Calling it "devolution" is simply a subjective judgment, and an interesting one, because "devolution" as the opposite of "evolution" is an "error" (by your view of things) someone committed in the 19th century. Before that, "devolve" arose from the Middle English devolven ("to transfer"). It just meant "the passing on of a thing to another" or, based on its Latin root, "causing something to roll downhill." The change in its definition stuck.

    "Evolution" doesn't even have to imply "to a better state" but can be merely a change. English had to evolve into its current state and it seems silly to take too great an offense that English-speakers have not had the good manners to stop its evolution once it reached its current state.

    Language courses are beside the point. Of course knowing the current majority view of the language facilitates communication on the broadest scale, and anyone taking a language course is presumably doing so to facilitate that. Correction makes sense in that context. On the other hand, would you take the time to correct someone if they wrote:

    or:

    as Joyce and Twain are considered great authors.

    OR, you might adjust your expectations to meet the realities that have always existed in English. If you read Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (which is a more fun tread than you might guess), you will see that many of the words you know he also knew, but they were defined differently in his day. Should you not conclude that the modern definition is "wrong" because people changed it over the course of time?

    Is there some other way to account for the difference? Did the language somehow steadily improve from Johnson's time to ours, until reaching its present perfection, only to turn into a decline?

    I simply do not understand your passion when it comes so-called "errors" in speech of people who speak differently than you'd prefer. Do you have the same passion against recognized dialects, like African American Vernacular English (aka "ebonics") or Appalachian English, or only against non-recognized idiosyncrasies in speech?
     
  9. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    You'll find a number of us here that sometimes take the view that if you don't care enough to use the language and format correctly we don't care enough to read what you've written.
    (Not being nasty, just explaining a view point)
    The ONLY thing we know about you on here is what from you say and how you present what you say.
    And to be honest I only had a dig at the capitalisation because your post was about mistakes: it just seemed apposite.

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    Heh, I'll give you a clue on one you missed: it shocked the hell out of me.
    The LAST person I expected to make that particular error.
    But we all slip sometimes...

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  10. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    I can understand the point on language and format determining your listening power. I'd feel the same way. I was also asking for it when I didn't write that thread out well.

    Also, I'll never guess my other mistakes.
     
  11. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    No dude: the one I'm referring to isn't yours - like I said, it's the last person I'd have expected it from.
    And if he's reading this he'll probably know who I mean and is now frantically searching for it to edit before anyone else spots it.

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  12. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    Stranger's Cindy & me instead of Cindy and I?
     
  13. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Nope.
    Clue: who's THE man for languages on Sci?
     
  14. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    No idea today is my first day posting. I usually just read the old offensive jokes thread.
     
  15. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    I think the main reason people use the redundancy "PIN number" it is obviously because the phrase "Give me your PIN, please," would advocate the more inept customer/client pulling out a pen or pin of some type.

    It's just another form of dumbing yourself down for the less wise.

    Oh another good one is "its" and "it's" in writing.

    It's best for the contraction's apostrophe to be used when its in "it is" form, and not possessively
     
  16. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Ordnance and ordinance.
     
  17. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    elaborate. I know one's explosive, but that's about it.
     
  18. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    One is "military supplies" weapons, explosives etc. - the term is even used for Ordnance Survey - the set of maps used by hikers (among others) in the UK.
    Ordinance refers to a statute or law passed by a city ruling body - a bye-law in effect.
     
  19. Exterminate!!! Registered Member

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    Ah yes now i remember. I like the first one now.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    That's not correct. My point is that there's no easy answer. In some situations I feel that it's appropriate/necessary/polite/boastful to correct someone else's language, and in others it's not. I do it far more often in writing than in speech. Since I've been able to succeed professionally as a language teacher and an editor (among other things) people obviously think I'm doing something right.
    You guys should make it a rule to check dictionary.com before saying things like that.

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    "Redundance" is accepted but not preferred.
    This just shows how unnecessary the accusative case is in English. The only place we retain it is in pronouns, and not even in all of them, viz. you/you and it/it, and who/whom is practically extinct. If we can say "Cindy and you" or "George and it" in all cases, then why not "Cindy and I" in all cases? I recognize that it's "not right" and I would certainly correct it, but "not right" is not the same as "useful." Languages tend to drop useless constructions.
    Over here you might be deliberately turned down for the RP, or what we call "BBC English." And the formal subjunctive construction "were I hiring" is looked upon by Americans as poetic or downright stilted. The time is long past when "proper British English" was respected by all anglophones.

    A language does not evolve in the same direction in all communities of speakers. Although I think the post-industrial revolution in electronic communication will ultimately bring all English speakers together, since we are so incredibly wired. In the 1950s I couldn't understand the dialog in British movies. Then the Beatles (and the entire British Invasion) came along mimicking phonemes they'd heard in American songs. At the same time we were all listening to network TV announcers from New York and Hollywood so our own regional accents began to recede. Nowadays I don't think Brits, Americans and Aussies have any trouble at all understanding each other so long as they don't break into slang.
    I'm sure we can all agree that the rules of any language must allow for the creation of new words. Therefore a language cannot be static. If new words are allowable, then why not new pronunciations and new grammar?
    The point can be made that a dialect, recognized or not, is widely heard by outsiders, who then have a chance to get used to it. "Non-recognized idiosyncrasies" are more likely to be the cant of a small community or even the idiolect of an individual, and therefore more unfamiliar and more difficult to understand.

    "African-American Vernacular English" has become an established linguistic term and is abbreviated AAVE. "Ebonics" has become entrenched in government regulations so it will be difficult to purge, but the term has fallen into disfavor outside the bureaucracy.
    I think a more reasonable way to state it--not to mention a more reasonable position--is that errors in writing slow down the reader. Try reading one of Asgard's posts about "achole."

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    We're all allowed to make a rational decision: I only have a certain amount of time to devote to SciForums, so would I rather read eight garbled posts or ten well-written ones?
    As I have pointed out before, if you expect twenty people to read your post, then it is a reasonable expenditure of effort for you to spend up to nineteen times as much time correcting your writing as it will take any one of them to read it without correction. This way we will all have more time to read--including you. So if a person doesn't bother to at least catch the bonehead errors, it could be seen as an expression of disrespect: "My time is more valuable than yours."
    It's obvious from your subsequent posts that you're talking about me. I proofread all of my posts before hitting "Submit." It's good way to stay in the habit so I'll be better at my work. But I only proofread them once, so an error is bound to slip past me once in a while. At work I go over everything at least twice. If it's for publication I give it to my wife and she hands it back with 2/3 fewer words. (Max would love that.) I'm not going to take the time to review all my posts on this thread and correct the error, since by now everyone has read it.

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    If you pronounce the names of the letters, then you should not have to--er--redundate, redound?--by expanding one of them. So "ATM machine" is truly redundant. But if you reduce the letters to a pronounceable syllable, like PIN, then I agree that there might be a chance of misunderstanding. Obviously radar and laser aren't ambiguous, but PIN is. "PIN number" has eight fewer syllables than "personal identification number," so we still come out way ahead.
    And please explain why we have to exacerbate the disconnect between spoken English and written English? "Horses," "horse's" and "horses' " are pronounced identically. Why should we have to learn to spell them differently? I agree that we do have to, because the error slows down our reading. But it's the kind of rule that could be changed and within a generation no one would miss it.
     
  21. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Heh, I checked 3 on-line dictionaries and "redundance" wasn't in any of them, so I went with it...
    Wrist slapping duly noted.

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    That was why I was trying to give as few clues as possible.

    I'll forgive you, just this once

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    Seriously, your posts are always a pleasure to read and highly informative.
    I'm a Fraggle fan.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  22. Arachnakid Linguist-In-Training Registered Senior Member

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    Irregardless: This is not even a word, but if it was it still wouldn't make sense in the most common context. It's usually used in place of "regardless"

    Also, its and it's get switched on a pretty regular basis.

    Another one my sister pointed out: at a local high school there is an AVID program (some acronym I don't remember) that changed its name to AEC: AVID Educational Community. An acronym inside an acronym?
     
  23. justwonderingjoe Gosh,the weather is nice today Registered Senior Member

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    What's the proper usage for envious and jealous? They seem to have the same meaning, but I was told they don't. Can anyone clarify?
     

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