Monday, June 20, 2016

More Word-Loss “Beefs”

Language is a living thing. Otherwise, we’d still be saying “ugh” and using pantomime to communicate (if we ever did in the first place). Still, some changes are technically improper English and I don’t condone them, even if I sometimes use them. Other words simply replace the terms of the previous generation; perhaps that’s why old geezers like me sometimes object. I don’t care so much for change, and I don’t always enjoy being reminded just how old I’m getting.

One word that I get tired of hearing is the term “tsunami.” Why must we always use the word from some other culture? I thought “tidal wave” was just fine. Then there’s “lanai” being used for “porch.” Now, I realize that if you’re in Hawaii, that IS the proper term. I also understand that it can be used to differentiate a hard-floored, roofed area furnished as a room and maybe even with removable wall panels. However, more and more, I’m hearing the term used for a plain old porch on any house within sight of a body of water, anywhere along the coast of the continental U.S. Get off your high horse folks, it’s just a cotton-pickin’ porch.

I notice, too, that the terms “twister” and “cyclone” have pretty-much disappeared from the American version of the English language. Every circle of wind is now called a “tornado” if the wind speed is judged fast enough. I suppose it’s because the term is of Spanish origin, thus making more politically correct.

And what about “dinner?” Everyone today assumes you mean supper when you say the word. Dinner is at or about noon, folks. That’s why those big noisy things are called “dinner bells.” They called the farm workers into the noon meal, or dinner. Now, we say lunch, which is a corruption of the French term “luncheon,” which originally meant a snack, NOT a full meal. Even worse, restaurants often serve “brunch” these days, a meal for people too lazy to get up for breakfast and too impatient to wait for dinner!

I guess I’d best shut my trap. Most of you probably feel that I’ve blathered on long enough (for those of you familiar with the term). ;-) © 2016


kymber said...

i like it when you blather! and i hate the word lunch! it's breakfast, dinner and supper in this household! and it's been several years now that i can't read facebook or twitter or any of that nonsense - i hate the words LOL, WTF, ROTFLMAO, SMH....but i must admit i love the word arghghghgh! i swear i made that one up myself.

and it probably drives you to no end of crazy that jambaloney and i NEVER use capital letters to start our sentences. it started when we both worked for the government and both wrote numerous reports a day. one of us came up with the idea of not using caps in our emails to each other and it has stuck ever since.

sending much love to and yours, Gorges! your friend,

Lady Locust said...

We always ate noon dinner on the ranch and a light supper in the evening. I agree there seem to be words that are way too overused. My beef is when folks who don't have command of the English language write books. It makes me wonder about the editors? It's not the people that were standing in line; it's the people who were standing in line. I read recently of "a chainlink fence in our home" not around our home or in our yard. My thought was, "Wow, your kids must be animals!" I'm really not to be a grammar Nazi, but some errors are like fingernails on a chalk board. We all make mistakes, typos, etc. but why publish them? I'll stop now:) Ornery of you to get me started on this.

Gail said...

Breakfast, dinner and supper here.

I have a screened porch, a rock porch, a stoop but never a lanai.

I do use the "Wednesday week" way of showing a time but I hear few others using it.

Have a blessed day.

Gorges Smythe said...

I didn't know you felt so strongly about some things, kymber! ROTFLMAO

I tend to write as I speak, then usually correct any errors, LL. Like you, I have no idea why some folks insist on printing them, unless they're trying to be colloquial or facetious.

Atta girl, Gail! (I must confess, though, I've pretty much caved in on "lunch." I just got tired of having to clarify myself to younger folks.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

My husband and I don't use the same words. It is breakfast, lunch and dinner for me, always was. He uses breakfast, dinner, supper. He says toasted cheese sandwich and I say grilled cheese. He says since I am not using a grill it must be toasted (but not in the toaster???). He's an icebox and I'm refrigerator. Then there are the St Louis accents. He says fark (fork) and carn (corn),farty (forty) yet it is farty four (44) rather than farty far. Must be regional?

Gorges Smythe said...

Technically, I guess it would be a "fried" cheese sandwich," Kathy.

Pumice said...

I have found that my students often do not understand proper English. It is technically improper to finish a sentence with a proposition but if I were to ask a student "for whom are you voting?" I would just get a deer in the headlights look.

Grace and peace.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've pretty-much given up on proper English, Pumice. I see poor English in even some of the top magazines. And you're right; most folks today have never even HEARD the word "whom."