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Old October 4 2012, 03:48 PM   #16
thestrangequark
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Re: Changing Language Usage

^I'll chalk it up to two good sources (respective texts) and two unreliable sources (respective memories) in minor contention, then.
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Old October 5 2012, 04:09 AM   #17
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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
[
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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Old October 5 2012, 08:29 AM   #18
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Re: Changing Language Usage

thestrangledcorpse wrote: View Post
^I'll chalk it up to two good sources (respective texts) and two unreliable sources (respective memories) in minor contention, then.
Yeah but my memory includes four years of an MA in English Language.

This is of course offset by senile dementia but they always say you remember the old stuff but not what happened an hour ago.
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Old October 5 2012, 08:32 AM   #19
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Re: Changing Language Usage

Where are my specs? I have to listen to the Shipping Forecast.

Is this Facebook? It looks funny today.
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Old October 5 2012, 02:26 PM   #20
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Re: Changing Language Usage

My Son the Vampire wrote: View Post

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.
It's a bit of a misconception that Human Resources departments departments are simply renamed Personnel departments, Personnel departments were largely administrative functions. HRM grew out of Human Resource Accounting and the idea that the person is a resource to be used up as much as possible for as little cost to the business as possible - the underlying concept is far more sinister than anything that was done by old fashion personnel departments.

The distinction is useful because it's a discussion of two overlapping but distinct concepts.
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Old October 5 2012, 02:31 PM   #21
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Re: Changing Language Usage

Frau Blucher wrote: View Post
thestrangledcorpse wrote: View Post
^I'll chalk it up to two good sources (respective texts) and two unreliable sources (respective memories) in minor contention, then.
Yeah but my memory includes four years of an MA in English Language.

This is of course offset by senile dementia but they always say you remember the old stuff but not what happened an hour ago.
My one year of linguistics courses bow to your MA.
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Old October 5 2012, 04:27 PM   #22
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Re: Changing Language Usage

The use of the past tense for "plead" - "pled" - has disappeared in favor of "pleaded."
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Old October 5 2012, 04:34 PM   #23
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Re: Changing Language Usage

^I think that's one that is context specific, though. I never thought of it before, but "I pleaded with him," sounds more correct to me than "I pled with him," while in the context of law, "He pled guilty," sounds more correct than "he pleaded guilty." What a strange and interesting language we have!
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Old October 5 2012, 05:36 PM   #24
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Re: Changing Language Usage

Pleaded guilty is used often now, which I think is weird (pled still seems preferred). Although, in other legal contexts, pleaded is used more often. So, even in the law, context matters more than it should.
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Old October 5 2012, 05:39 PM   #25
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Re: Changing Language Usage

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
The use of the past tense for "plead" - "pled" - has disappeared in favor of "pleaded."
Not in the UK so much, except in literature in the example tsq gave. One irregular verb that the US seems to have lost, at least in literature, is the past tense of to light. The number of times I've read lighted recently is, well, legion.
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Old October 5 2012, 05:43 PM   #26
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Re: Changing Language Usage

^Really? I've never heard 'lighted' in place of 'lit.'
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Old October 5 2012, 05:47 PM   #27
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Re: Changing Language Usage

I read it all the time.

One thing that happens occasionally in US English is the irregularisation of regular verbs. Dive is a good example. I see the pt 'dove' a lot, as though it's the same irregular group as strive. Of course the pp of dive/dove is not diven, so the analogy breaks down there.
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Old October 5 2012, 06:00 PM   #28
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Re: Changing Language Usage

^Interesting. "Lighted" is definitely not common in American English, though, except in a couple specific phrases. I'd say "He was in a lighted room," not "He was in a lit room," but I've never heard anyone say, "He lighted a fire."
Dove is definitely considered the past tense of dive, though.
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Old October 5 2012, 06:02 PM   #29
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Re: Changing Language Usage

While I'm on the subject, I remember being infuriated when Honey, I Shrunk the Kids came out.
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Old October 5 2012, 06:06 PM   #30
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Re: Changing Language Usage

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