Good morning Everyone!l
I love the English language. I love its richness and sonorousness.
I love the nuances present in different words with similar meanings such as the words “create” and “engender.” I create a painting; I don’t engender it. On the other hand, a hospital staff’s decision to make customer service a top priority can engender a sense of hope and pride in the surrounding medical community rather than create that sense. “Engender” implies more of an outgrowing and flowering than does the word “creation,” at least to my untutored etymological ear.
I also love the sheer number of words in our language. After all, how many other languages have a name for that spot on your back that is unreachable when it itches? For those of you wondering, the word is “acnestis.” (Yes, I am nerd enough to subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day..)
English’s flexibility is also an advantage. If our language didn’t change, we wouldn’t have been able to invent words for new inventions and actions such as television, planes, internet, googling, cable, e-mailing and scanning.
There are times, however, when American English’s penchant for changeability gives rise to meanings that are more annoying than helpful. “Actually” is a good example of such a word, as I’ve mentioned before.
The latest annoying phrase I’ve encountered is “reaching out.” This phrase has been adopted en masse by sales people under the age of 40 in the electronics business. They primarily use the phrase in e-mails. Lots of people “reach out” to me in e-mails asking me to buy computer equipment, electronic research and other such services. Every time I read the phrase, my stomach squirms as I envision a horde of people extending their hands begging me to rescue them from a ship wreck or prison, which doesn’t increase the writer’s chance of getting a response.
Of course, I could just be evolving into a language curmudgeon as I age. Help me out here by letting my know if you have any pet peeves regarding the English language to assure me that I’m not alone. I’d love to hear about them!
Have a great day!