Lousy Language

When you work with language as a professional tool, there is nothing more infuriating than picking up on those little habitual words that people repeat annoyingly… “you know”…  “like”…. “whatever.” But to some having an individual language is key to their identity.  Neologisms, or words that are yet to have been accepted into common usage, are flags for mapping trends in popular culture, science and current affairs.

Who can forget “D’oh!” Homer Simpson’s catchphrase that entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001 and was repeated by a chorus of ten year olds across the world. Language purists rolled their eyes, others rejoiced at the evolution.

Over 2000 new words enter the Oxford English Dictionary every year.   For some of the must infuriating words we may have Lewis Carroll to thank.  He coined the term portmanteau; two words and their meanings blended to form a new word, such as ‘mimsy’ and ‘slithy’.  Recent additions to Carroll’s portmanteaus include “bromance” and “staycation”.

Last year Marist Poll released the findings of a nation wide survey in which “whatever” was voted as the most annoying word by 47% of Americans.

What is the most annoying phrase or word you hear regularly in New York City (no ‘bad’ language please)? Feel free to include a definition.

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4 Responses to Lousy Language

  1. Lexie says:

    I saw this on HuffPost and thought of you! Extraneous quotation marks don’t bother me as much as dangling participles, but…good enough.


  2. Martin says:

    I don’t like being addressed as a ‘guy’. It’s usually in the context of a group – “Hey guys, we’re gonna develop a plan”. “Oh yeah? (‘yes’ would be better) Not with me you’re not”.

    Don’t know if New Yorkers have yet adopted that fashionable verb from the UK – to up. Perhaps it’s too much trouble for some people to say ‘increase’? So let’s save a few milliseconds and say ‘up’. Even the BBC condones its use. Is there no hope?

    Rain checks. Do we need to take them?

  3. Novelene Walters says:

    ”I like those ones.”

    “She switched them out.”

    “He changed it up.”

  4. Elizabeth Wright says:

    On behalf of Jo Wright: the word ‘love’ is over-used. “I love this”, “I love that”, “Oh, I LOVE her”! But do you really? The true meaning behind the word begins to be lost.

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