This is not the first time I have vented my spleen on the debasement of our language during the pandemic.
I am not simply a pedant; I want accuracy; and why create a new bit of jargon when there is already a perfectly adequate word?
Claptrap and baloney get under my skin. Politicians, in particular, are the guilty ones. I am forever shouting at the TV and radio, despite knowing they cannot hear me. Sometimes I write to them with my complaints and contempt, but it cuts no more ice than my ineffectual shouting.
Here are some of the abominations. They pour out on the media, every day.
By the way, media is a plural term, medium being the singular form. Thus, newspapers are one form of medium; the press, radio and TV, collectively, are this country’s principal media. Geddit?
Today’s egregious irritant for me is uptick. What the hell is uptick? And the scum is spreading. I am now hearing it more and more.
Politicians, journalists and media pundits in general infect one another with potty tropes and misconceived meanings.
Significant is used when substantial, or big, or noteworthy, is what is meant. It would best be reserved as a synonym for indicative, signifying, or forewarning.
Incredible, or incredibly is used as a more impressive word than the one that should be used, namely, VERY. Incredible, which means unbelievable, or untrue, is the opposite of what the speaker means. Do they know that?
“In no way, shape or form” could be made even more uselessly verbose by saying: in no way, shape, means, form or manner.
That is an example of a speech virus, which is highly transmissible and very irritating. It is an example of a time-filler, occupying the discourse for longer than necessary, in order to keep others out. Another time-filler, which also acts as a reservation sign, giving the speaker time to think, is starting an answer or intervention with a meaningless, long drawn out “So.. o”.
At pace. What does that mean? If it means at speed, or fast, say so. At pace does not make me more impressed.
At scale. What does that mean? I suspect it is meant to indicate big, or bigger. If so, say so.
Heads up, as in “I’ll give you a heads up.” What the hell is that? They are all at it; giving me heads up, although I do not want it, because I have no idea what it is supposed to be.
Parameters is a useful word in science. It means aspects of a concept or model which are measurable. It does NOT mean the limits or boundaries of something.
Calibrate is another word appropriately used in science. It does NOT mean measuring something; it means marking a measuring instrument with a standard scale of units, so that it can be used for measuring something.
“Get a vaccine” is sloppily used. You are not getting a vaccine; you are getting vaccinated, or immunised, WITH a vaccine.
Nobody ever places an order nowadays. You are invited to pre-order. That prefix, pre, is totally redundant. The same abomination comes up as pre-planned. Does it mean that you make a plan of a plan? No. It means that before the bank robbery, the robbers made a plan. It would not even be necessary to tell readers that the robbery was planned. After all, if it had not been planned, there would have been no robbery.
Blackadder’s noisome side-kick regularly came up with a cunning plan. He never claimed to have a cunning pre-plan. Had he done so, I trust that Blackadder would have throttled him.
Calculus is useful in mathematics and science. It is a word thrown around by people who have no idea of differential, or integral calculus and probably cannot even roll out their nine times table. Some loons use the word when their real need is the modest word calculation, or estimation. But calculus, they think, sounds more impressive. Not to me, matey. I have you sussed.