Tuesday, April 08, 2008


“Such exquisite and admirable things can be done with words. They can be used to build great cathedrals of thought, and to decorate those cathedrals. They can arise from the depths of the soul and ascend to the heavens.”

Edwin Faust

Language, or rather the misuse and abuse of it, has always fascinated me. Not the comic things like parking on a driveway, and driving on a parkway (why do we do that, anyway?) but instead the dumb things that are said.
“I need to use an ATM machine.” Really? An Automatic Teller Machine, machine.
Or “we need a new hot water heater.” If the water is already hot, why heat it?

Colloquialisms also give me pause. The one I have the most trouble understanding is “I could care less.” What the hell does that mean? And why does that mean exactly the same thing as “I could not care less?” While I’m at it, how is it that flammable and inflammable mean the same thing? Excusable and inexcusable are opposites, just as effective and ineffective are.

My mind is starting to wander. Again. Back to the topic at hand. The written word seems to have taken a back seat today to basic communication on a level which is, for lack of a better term, sophomoric gibberish.

For example: “This is pretty stupid becomes:”


I wonder what will happen to our rich language and its nuances in 25 or 50 years when an amalgamation of Spanglish, Hip Hop, and text combines into some form of communication that a person from just a few years ago would be hard pressed to understand.

While language constantly evolves, and always has, it seems to be doing so at such an alarming rate. I fail to see the upside of this.


Kate said...

I'm with ya.

One of my favorites/most hated is "supposebly". No one hears that it's wrong. No one gets that the root word is suppose, which leads to supposed, which then takes you to supposedly.

I really feel like people are getting stupider all the time in this country.