Friday, 29 July 2011

Pet peeves in language

This article on "Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples" is hilarious!

Some of the top 50 are commonly found in work environments - reach out, touch base, heads up. I don't find them grammatically wrong. And I'm for jargon, if that's what they are :p

Some are just practical - saying "24/7" is so much easier than saying "24 hours, seven days a week", unless you want to emphasise on the round-the-clock nature?

And these may not all be "Americanism". It could have been dropped from common use or become less popular in the UK such that Brits, quite simply, don't like them. It's a good thing, this evolution of language. I mean, I'm reading "Sense and Sensibility" now and the old English is driving me crazy!

Or it's just how people of different places like to call certain things, such as carts vs. trolleys. Went shopping with JY for BBQ stuff and she gave no recognition (more like giving me a blank look!) when I said I was going to get a trolley *.*

I didn't manage to get through all the 1000+ comments on the article but I'm sure someone must have added "different than" to the list! Seriously, that's neither slang nor jargon, which I can accept; that's just plain wrong!

I have other pet peeves of "Americanism" too, with the grammatical atrocity above topping my list:

2) awesome - overused! Fine, I just don't like it..

3) like - it's appearing, like, everywhere! (Oops, I'm guilty!)

4) *ize - "organize", "realise".. It's "organise" and "realise"! Call me snobbish!

5) can't - how the Americans differentiate "can" from "can't" eludes me.... Ok, so I'm a Singaporean prone to dropping terminal consonants... But hey, I like my life a little easier...

Oh, how about a similar list for good old Singlish? :)

1) ever - not your typical Singlish but I've only heard this from Singaporeans.. I'm so disgusted by its misuse that it has its own post.

Um, I think that's it leh... Singlish itself does not irritate me unless it is used excessively. Exclamations like "la" can inject "feel" but please don't give me a whole string of Singlish such as this appalling line I found on wiki "Dis guy Singrish si beh powerful sia"! I'm even ok with "issit" when "is it?" just doesn't cut it! :p But at work or if I'm not with Singaporeans, I'll avoid such a response altogether and use "really?" or something suitable.

And of course, we are plagued by some "Americanism", especially the ubiquitous "like". What to do? The borders aren't clear-cut anymore.. At the same time, I have witnessed or heard of non-Singaporeans using Singlish too, more commonly just adding an exclamation at the end of a sentence, la - yes, with a comma *.*

And while I'm at it, let's do Chinese too!

1) 撞 - while it's easy to use this word correctly in writing, people (like my husband!) tend to pronounce it wrongly as chuang4 instead of zhuang4

2) 好彩 - or however you write that! I know this is Yan's pet peeve too.. Correct answer? 幸亏!

3) 吃, 喝 - what's so difficult about these two words? It's the pronunciation again.. It bugs me to hear chi4 and he4 instead of chi1 and he1..

4) 先 - it should be used before the verb, not after or - god forbids - before AND after!

Anyway, I kind of like how we Singaporeans can code-switch easily between English, Singlish, CMT and even foreign languages - who doesn't know what kawaii means? :p - AND still understand one another.

PS: Writing this gave me a lot of nerdy joy! :)

1 comment:

  1. I actually used the word "affronted" today... Quite amused because that's like probably the one and only time I'm ever gonna use the word. Hah!


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