Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The decline and fall of the English language: Screening invitation edition

"You are invited to a special advanced screening of title omitted to protect the guilty.

So, just how advanced is it?

Is a placement test necessary? Do I need to bring proof that I hold an advanced degree? Will there be a quiz following the screening?

I don't want to be a super language geek, but certain things drive me crazy.

It's and its. The phrase "based of off." Closure vs. closing (as in, "...and now from shadow traffic, we have multiple closures on the L.I.E...").

And advanced screenings. They're "advance screenings," meaning "in advance of release."

I sometimes feel as though this is Humpty Dumpty's world and I just live in it.

To quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is,' said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master — that's all."

That was, by the way, written in 1865. Plus ca change..."


achyfakey said...

I know we all have pet peeves, but language is just not fixed. That's one of the great things about it. The key is: do we understand one another?

"Language is a virus from outer space." It's always mutating.

However, I do feel your pain. Often have to remind myself that pronouncing "ask" is just as correct as prounoncing it as "aks"! (even though in this case, it's not a matter of decline... it's a matter of justified metathesis)

miss flickchick said...

I love anyone who can use the word metathesis.

But I worry about the gradual erosion of language norms. Sure, we can all still understand each other now, but letting the meaning of words blur has eventual consequences.

And that brings us back to Idiocracy, which you as a longtime reader know is one of my pet causes.

For new readers, Mike Judge's futuristic comedy is deeply flawed but sporadically brilliant in its depiction of a dystopian future America. When it comes together, it's laugh-so-you-don't-cry funny.