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Old October 5 2012, 04:09 AM   #17
scotpens
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Re: Changing Language Usage

Jim Gamma wrote: View Post
. . . You no longer "buy" something (especially not online), you "purchase" it. (Use of more complex language for no real reason.)
Using a more complex word where a simpler word will do makes people feel smarter -- or at least like they're doing something important. It's also easier to use a single umbrella term instead of a word with a more specific meaning.

For example: Nowadays, nobody has problems, troubles, difficulties, conflicts or obstacles. Instead, they're all "issues."

And why does absolutely everything have to be an "experience"? I don't know how many times I've heard or read the phrase, "If you are experiencing technical issues . . ." Is that anything like having technical problems?

You don't have a "Personnel" department, it's "Human Resources" - or indeed just "Resources".
Businesses started calling their personnel departments "Human Resources" back in the 1970s. That pretentious term always makes me think of Soylent Green.

Individuals with non-standard levels of eyesight are "visually impaired" rather than "partially sighted". (Less obvious perhaps, but it emphasises the bad - they can't see as well - rather than the good - they can see a bit.)
The term "partially sighted" is still quite common. But there's always the old euphemism treadmill. People who were once called "feeble-minded" became "mentally retarded," then (ugh!) "mentally challenged." Et cetera, et cetera.


As I said - I know language usage changes... but why? And are there any particular changes in language use you've noticed over the years? What do you think of these trends?
As you noted, there's that annoying tendency to use complex words instead of simple ones -- mostly by people who aren't even aware they're doing it. And there's the habit of adding the suffix "-ize" to just about anything.

"The government should incentivize the private sector to create jobs." Uh, what's wrong with encourage or motivate?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
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I've head HR referred to as People Services.
I can't take a business seriously if it calls its personnel department "People Services." It's just too twee.
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Last edited by scotpens; October 5 2012 at 04:29 AM.
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