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Double or Nothing

23
May
2012
 

By Miranda

It was so easy to laugh at George W Bush and his mangling of English (though it is fair to acknowledge that anyone in the public eye can be made to look like a complete idiot if they are hounded by a sufficient number of news-people with cameras and recorders for long enough). But the former president's efforts, such as 'embetterment' and 'misunderestimate', were truly memorable. And yet the whirligig of time etc...

Because I've noticed there's a trend in language to add or embed a few extra syllables in a quite mannered 'look we know we're doing something potentially horrible but it's ironic so it's OK' way. And by the way, it's probably not ironic. Your call, people.

So now it's oh-so-amusing to infix or affix - I think 'goodification' was a Bushism which is now creeping, at the very least, into adspeak - and from ads to common speech and from there to the dictionary is not all that far.

And then what? Well, 'er' for a start. Or rather for a finish. It's one thing to add a comparative 'er' to the end of an adjective though, naturally, we should only add the comparative 'er' to a short adjective, that is one with up to two syllables, lest we incur the wrath of the rule-enforcers. And also because, in the past, our ear for language has been irritated by such constructions as 'fascinatinger' or 'literater', preferring the more fascinating and literate.

But then there's the double comparative. Now I've argued in favour of a double-negative NOT making a positive but just emphasising the really, really negative nature of a statement - 'we don't need no education' for example. But I'm not entirely convinced that hearing 'fantasticerer'* or 'gooderer' makes things better at all. What do you think?
 
* Yes, fantasticerer made an impact in a TV ad. No, I didn't remember the product or brand name...

Miranda

 

22 Responses to

Double or Nothing

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gm1951 said:
May 23, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I know someone who says "betterer" all the time & seems to think it's an actual word. "Worser" is just as bad (or should I say "badderer). It's a bit like American spelling, shortening of words for use on the internet or Twitter & words altered for effect in an ad - over time everyone just accepts them & they become part of the language. Just look at the revisions made to dictionaries to incorporate all the "new" words. It's a shame our language is being decimated by non-words (if that's actually a word)

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mommyscat said:
May 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

What about people who use the word me for my as in I forgot me car keys. That always makes me shudder.

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pdiaco said:
May 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I do not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not not agree. Now for 2000 points and 10 tokens, do I agree or not agree?

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May 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Doing word games, and anagrams with multiple letters to play with, it's quite tempting to hopefully put "-er" onto a word, and then check to see if it's legitimate. I watch Letters and Numbers on SBS weeknights, and David Astle is very strict about the correct use of "-er". I've learned a lot from watching it. I can't bear it when someone says "more better" or "worser" - I'm a self-confessed grammar Nazi.

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kaylz said:
May 24, 2012 at 11:57 PM

Do we have to keep dumbing down society? Surely it is not that difficult to speak properly. The more these gramatic disasters show up in the media the more popular they will become. Frankly I'd prefer a return to the glory days of the English language when words were treated with respect. Spare me the lol's and the goodification and show me some real poetic justice!

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pdiaco said:
May 25, 2012 at 5:06 AM

I'm not sure of the correct grammar in the following sentence: 'I would like to spend more quality time with me'. Should that 'me' be 'me', 'myself' or 'a woman'?

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synergy said:
May 25, 2012 at 5:43 AM

I phase I have heard occassionally is 'he doesn't do nothing' It really throws me, does it mean that he always does something, or is it intended to mean that the person does nothing? When I querie I am usually met with a blank stare. Two more new words that seem to be in common usage are 'nothink' and 'anythink', I have given up trying to explain, the words seem ingrained in a certain strata of society. Fortunately it hasn't filtered through to TV or films yet.

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storm2005 said:
May 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM

our english language is a living language and its fascinating to see the evolvement, otherwise we would still be speaking "olde english" or, worse still, latin. oh and synergy...watch your spelling!

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Xrosie said:
May 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Kentucky Chicken - goodifaction Guess the language is changing, but my pet hate is more betterer, my husbands favourite saying- UGH!

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henry2 said:
May 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM

My pet hate is "of" as in "would of", "should of" - for those who don't know the abbreviation would've or should've is for would have, should have. And it's not just American politicians that make up words on the fly - "prioritise" is often accredited to John Howard.

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May 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM

"I shoulda went this morning" was one of my pet hates, and that was a long, long time ago, when grammar was taught in schools. There will always be people who just don't "get it". Casual communication, such as email, text and comments in social media make it worse. There's no reason to attempt correct grammar or spelling when it's acceptable not to bother.

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JustJan said:
May 28, 2012 at 3:46 PM

What about "commentating" or "orientating"? I much prefer commenting and orienting.

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said:
May 29, 2012 at 1:17 PM

For a real good laugh just google "Dan Quayle quotes".

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g0gis said:
May 29, 2012 at 11:17 PM

As for the use of "me" in me car. The sound is heard in ares of given pronunciation deserts. In older english there were no strict spelling rules and e i and y (all pronounced ai) were acceptable and interchangeable

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said:
May 30, 2012 at 7:40 AM

Well, I WAS once a grammar Nazi but after 30 years of teaching, and correcting brang to brought... I think I've been converted! Brang does make more sense! Or have I been brainwashed???

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twazza said:
May 30, 2012 at 7:39 PM

"...I am more better Than Prospero..." -Shakespeare (The Tempest, Act II)

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pdiaco said:
May 30, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Good one twazza! Now we realise that those who say 'more better' have studied Shakespearean literature, and that those who spell 'Shakespearean' correctly have used a SpellChecker.

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pdiaco said:
May 30, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Hey Jafa. Interesting point. I'm glad you brang it my attention. It seems bring and brought are lifted from the German language : 'ich bringen' and 'ich brachte' = 'I bring' and 'I brought'. However because we won the War it should be ok now to use 'brang' .

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said:
June 01, 2012 at 5:58 PM

So we're okay with brang? How about brung?

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pdiaco said:
June 01, 2012 at 10:39 PM

I must admit brung sounds ugly...brought does sounds betterer.

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said:
June 02, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Ring, rang, rung; bring, brang, brung; sounds so-o wrong but my OCD is starting to purr...

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RyanRad said:
July 10, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Why double or nothing