Monday, October 20, 2008

Dedicated language usage whining post

Just because I haven't had one for a while.

A spy has recently heard and reported back two beauties:

'Do you want an internal line or an out-ternal line?'

(We had some fun with this one. The speech was out-temporaneous. Do you want outra cheese? That was an outcellent movie.)


'[.... if they do so-and-so], they will be shunned upon.' (Repeated several times in the course of the conversation.)

At first I thought the perpetrator was mixing up 'shunned' and 'frowned upon', but it's only just occurred to me as I was typing that that she may have been subliminally thinking of 'shat upon' as well.

Also, it reminds me of two that have crept into mainstream TV and radio newsreading over the last few years and that includes, alas, the ABC:

(1) 'A did such-and-such while B watched on.'

(2) 'X had never stepped foot there before.'

Now, B did not 'watch on'. B either 'looked on' or 'watched'. Nor did X 'step foot', which is a tautology; if you step, you do it, by definition, with your foot. X either 'set foot' or 'stepped'.

Thank you for your attention.


Barry Leiba said...

The "out" substitution in other things reminds me of Victor Borge's "inflationary language"; are you familiar with it? Whenever a word contains something that sounds like a number, he would increment it. "Fortune" becomes "fivetune", and "tooting one's horn" becomes "threeting two's horn." His best one turns "Anyone for tennis?" into "Anytwo five elevennis?"

Our media seems to've taken to saying, "between A to B". Grrr.

And on a walk on Saturday I saw a sign that said, basically, "No trespassing without authorization." Hmmmmm.

M-H said...

I love a good pedranting in the morning. Aaaaah! Thanks.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I love Victor Borge.

Barry, when I first read your comment I could've sworn I'd never seen 'between A to B' in Australia but now, two hours later, I've just been cruising round the national broadcaster's news site and oh dear, there's someone saying it. But I'm still mulling over the notion of an authorized trespasser.