The Love Child of the Return of The Thread on Word Usage that Grates like Blackboard Fingernails...

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al-Qa'bong
The Love Child of the Return of The Thread on Word Usage that Grates like Blackboard Fingernails...

When one can buy "gourmet" hot dogs or "gourmet" dog food, has the word "gourmet" lost all meaning?

Unionist

Depends on what you thought its meaning was before:

Quote:
[French, from Old French, alteration (influenced by gourmand, glutton) of groumet, servant, valet in charge of wines, from Middle English grom, boy, valet.]

Given its etymology, I think "gourmet hot dogs" may be appropriate.

 

al-Qa'bong

I don't think so.  Gourmand has a different meaning. 

Since you mentioned it,  gourmand is used more frequently in France than gourmet.  I move in rather provincial circles in France, but nevertheless have rarely come across any use of gourmet there.

Sineed

What does the gourmet dog food taste like??

Yesterday, on the previous incarnation of this thread, I mentioned the egregious substitution of "issue" for "problem."  There's another, burgeoning substitution for "problem" that is starting to replace "issue" and that's "challenge."  

al-Qa'bong

This is like déja vu all over again.  I think unionist mentioned "challenge" as a substitute for "issue" when we talked about this before.

 

Where is that thread?

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

"i-Anything"...especially when it's the publicly-funded CBC crowing about Apple's latest locked-up gadget.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

"Preventable deaths" (as currently seen in this resurrected thread). X, Y or Z as the cause of death may be prevented or avoided, but death itself is not preventable. Period.

al-Qa'bong

Only if you think death is the "end result" of life.

If one goes along with your argument, when someone is credited with "saving lives," we're really just saying "delaying the inevitable."

Speaking of the philosophy of Albert Camus, whatever happened to that swell babbler named sisyphus?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

If one goes along with your argument, when someone is credited with "saving lives," we're really just saying "delaying the inevitable."

Yes that is true, it the logical extension of my argument.

What I was talking about, though, was that the phrase "preventable death" grates on my nerves like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, I am happy to report that I don't find the phrase "saving lives" the least bit annoying, probably because it is much less presumptuous. There is no suggesting that a "saved" life will never end, just that the current threat to it has been stopped, diverted or avoided. I am all in favour of that, as much stoppage, diversion and avoidance as I can get please - delay, delay, delay - and, in the meantime, a round of delay and avoidance for everyone else at the same time. CHEERS.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I'm pretty sure I heard someone on the radio this morning say "without further adieu." I kind of love the poeticism of that line.

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

I'm pretty sure I heard someone on the radio this morning say "without further adieu." I kind of love the poeticism of that line.

What about the hostage who was tied up and experienced undo hardship trying to free herself?

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hee, Unionist.

This reminds me of Tobias Wolff's short story "Bullet in the Brain," where a cynical, jaded book critic gets shot in the head by a bank robber who too-closely resembles his constitutive cliches, and in a protracted moment, recalls his one pure, genuine childhood moment:

Quote:
This is what he remembered. Heat. A baseball field. Yellow grass, the whirr of insects, himself leaning against a tree as the boys of the neighborhood gather for a pickup game. He looks on as the others argue the relative genius of Mantle and Mays. They have been worrying this subject all summer, and it has become tedious to Anders: an oppression, like the heat.

Then the last two boys arrive, Coyle and a cousin of his from Mississippi. Anders has never met Coyle's cousin before and will never see him again. He says hi with the rest but takes no further notice of him until they've chosen sides and someone asks the cousin what position he wants to play. "Shortstop," the boy says. "Short's the best position they is." Anders turns and looks at him. He wants to hear Coyle's cousin repeat what he's just said, but he knows better than to ask. The others will think he's being a jerk, ragging the kid for his grammar. But that isn't it, not at all--it's that Anders is strangely roused, elated, by those final two words, their pure unexpectedness and their music. He takes the field in a trance, repeating them to himself.

The bullet is already in the brain; it won't be outrun forever, or charmed to a halt. In the end it will do its work and leave the troubled skull behind, dragging its comet's tail of memory and hope and talent and love into the marble hall of commerce. That can't be helped. But for now Anders can still make time. Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweatblackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is.

 

Unionist

It's beautiful, Catchfire, but the rest of the story is somewhat on the dark side...

al-Qa'bong

I just read about someone engaged in the act of "reigning in."

 

Is this what that would look like?

Fotheringay-Phipps

Re: the meaning of "gourmet": as far as I can tell it means "not actually lethal if consumed in moderation."

al-Qa'bong

Sometimes an error is almost better than correct usage...

Quote:

I wonder if the full of himself, Friedman, warrior of the keyboard, would be so gun hoe in retrospect if he had to do some of the shooting and being shot at...

 

Check the "Comments" section.

Caissa

"Ask" is used in that manner in fund-raising campaigns as well.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Using "ask" as a noun is a common Britishism. As in, "we've got to win the final three games to have a shot at the league. It's a big ask for the boys, but I think we can pull it out."

al-Qa'bong

I don't suppose they can blame that one on Guillaume le Bâtard.

al-Qa'bong

What the...?  I haven't seen this one before:

 

Quote:

The third "ask" that AIPAC supporters will make of Congress on Tuesday is to once again pass the $3 billion in U.S. aid provided annually to Israel. "It's a very tough ask this year..."

 

I believe the word that our lobbyist really wants to use is "request."

 

Could this "ask" abomination be related to the current gambling craze, in which "tells" play so important a role?

 

I wonder who edits Time magazine.  No wonder so many USians prefer visual media.  Right after the above passage we find this howler:

Quote:

Among other major purchases, the Israeli government has announced plans to replace its aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets with new, American-made F-35 fighters, a major cost that Israel hopes will be substantially born for by American taxpayers.

 

al-Qa'bong

N.Beltov wrote:

I might as well add, since this thread is pretty well completely derailed,  that I think it's a bit of a generational thing. As in, only really old farts (or English teachers) care about this stuff.

 

The reason for the devolution of our language and culture cannot be put much more succinctly than that.

BillBC

That's a wonderful short story.  Thanks for linking to it. 

I recently read a student paper about the War Measures Act that talked about "Marshall Law."

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

"It's a big ask for the boys, but I think we can pull it out."

In the more brutish colonies, we would pull it off.

 

al-Qa'bong

The "news" presenter on AM640, Tina Trigiani, just said "passer-bys."

Unionist

Couldn't you just pass 'er by?

 

p-sto

Let me guess, the devolution of language and culture only started within past hundred years.  Or perhaps it's been on going since the peak of the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Mayan etcetera golden ages.  Yet some how society manages to go on.  Funny how culture 100(0) years ago always seems so much more elegant.

Unionist

p-sto wrote:
... the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Mayan etcetera golden ages.

P-sto, I'm just starting to tolerate "et cetera" instead of the more pompous "et cætera". Don't ask me to devolve all the way down to "etcetera". Please.

p-sto

Ouch I think I've been called pompous and uncouth in the same statement.  Bravo Unionist.

Unionist

I thought I was calling myself pompous - and trying to be funny - but have it your way if you like.

p-sto

Haha, I understood the comment to say that I was being pompous by spelling the word out in full but failing because I did so in the least elegant way possible.  The rather ironic thing is if I were writing for a more formal purpose, say an academic paper I'd use etc. because that's the convention.

Despite frequent use of web shorthands based on my mood I have an inclination to write things out in full.  Bit of a reaction to the frequent unnecessary shorting of words which annoys the hell out of me.  For example when some one in conversation abbreviates computer to comp, can't stand it.

Unionist

P-sto, sorry to belabour this tiny point, but my post was intended to be a pompous jab at you for joining two separate Latin words into a single word.

 

p-sto

I'm aware that they are two separate words.  If was wrong to think that it was acceptable to present them as one then thank you for correcting me.

Unionist

Your single-word usage is acceptable according to many dictionaries. I was simply trying to be pompous.

Caissa

You succeeded. Wink

Unionist

I know, it comes naturally to me.

p-sto

Well my inability to get jokes aside.  The use of devolution seems to imply that efforts to formalise a language elevate it, while accepting common useage into proper useage degrades it.  I can't say I accept that view.

Caissa

It's the difference between prescripive and descriptive grammar.

p-sto

Do you have a preference?

al-Qa'bong

p-sto wrote:

Well my inability to get jokes aside.  The use of devolution seems to imply that efforts to formalise a language elevate it, while accepting common useage into proper useage degrades it.  I can't say I accept that view.

No, I don't suppose that anyone who writes "useage" would.

Blimey.

 

p-sto

Better proof reading or spell check and I would have caught that.  Arbitrary rules are best enforced with flexibility.

al-Qa'bong

Flexible, shmexible, but on the other hand, some folks can be a tad too rigid:

 

Quote:

Eight people have been killed in northwestern Pakistan during protests against plans to rename the country's North West Frontier Province, witnesses reported.

Name change stirs Pakistan protest

 

 

 

p-sto

I rather like Caissa's distinction between prescriptive and descriptive grammar.  In my opinion making the study of language more of an exercise in understanding common usage seems like it would better facilitate common understanding in communication.  This is not to say that we can do without prescriptive grammar but one wonders if making the art strictly so unnecessarily impedes communication as some are attempting to adhere to a set of rules that others may be largely unaware of.

al-Qa'bong
p-sto

Hmmm I think I reduce my previous statement to, "I think that grammar would help more if it studied what people do instead of what they should do."  May I have a rebuttal now?

al-Qa'bong

The University of Regina currently has a billboard campaign with the slogan:

"Realize.  UR going places guaranteed!"

I don't think further comment is necessary.

lepidoptera

Can someone please clarify for me the use of "fast" and "quickly".  In most contexts other than  for example, colour fast, fast asleep, and "not to eat" the word fast is an adjective...I think.. The fast car.   Quickly is an adverb.  The fast car goes quickly. I don't think " the car goes fast"  or "he can run fast" are correct.  This was the subject of a debate between me and the wife recently...I know...get a life. Does any of yous word miesters that talks good no the answer.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Actually, "fast" developed in the adverbial form first: as in, "to hold fast" to something--the verb "to fast" has the same root. This developed into "to run fast" which means to run while sticking close to your prey--similar in construction to "run hard." Someone said to "run fast" became "fast" (adj.).

al-Qa'bong

Fast must be one of those Old Norse words.  I don't have the OED with me right now.

My Granny, whose first language is Icelandic, once said to me, "We say 'fast,' but it doesn't mean the same thing in English," meaning "fast" in Icelandic has a similar meaning to "tight" or "close" in English.

 

lepidoptera

 I brought this up in a similar thread but didn't get a response. I'll try again.

Am I so old and/or out of touch that rules of grammar have changed without me noticing?  Correct me if I'm wrong but is there an "issue" with this quote and similar quotes which we hear every day.... "last month's meeting which was chaired by myself....."          

Is "myself" not a reflexive personal pronoun which should refer back to the subject of the sentence and be used to add emphasis.  "Now that I'm a big boy, I chaired last month's meeting myself."  "I may have chaired last month's meeting myself but last month's meeting was chaired by ME".  This of course brings us to ...now we're using "chair" as a verb.

 

al-Qa'bong

You're correect; "myself" is an intensifier.  I think pompous folk like to use "myself" instead of "me" because "myself" has way more letters and twice the syllabalic power.

 

As for "fast," Catchfire's correct - the OED also says it started as an adverb.  Here's a wee sample of the OED on "fast":

Quote:

 

fast, adv.

 

(fɑːst, -æ-)

 

Forms: 1 fæste, 3 fæste, feste, south. dial. væste, veste, 3-6 faste, 3 Orm. fasste, south. dial. vaste, 3- fast; comp. 1 fæstor, 3 fæstre, south. dial. vastre, 3- faster.

 

[OE. fæste = OS. fasto (Du. vast), OHG. fasto (MHG. vaste firmly, fixedly, closely, quickly, mod.G. fast almost), ON. fast:-OTeut. *fastô, f. fastu- fast a.]

 

1. a.1.a In a fast manner, so as not to be moved or shaken; lit. and fig.; firmly, fixedly. Often with stand, sit, stick, etc. †to sit fast upon: to insist upon.

 

   c 900 Bæda's Hist. ii. xiii, Þa sceat he mid þy spere, þæt hit sticode fæste on þæm heriᴁe.    c 1205 Lay. 9562 Heore grið heo setten fæste.    c 1300 Beket 1306 Whan ech man of the lond faste aȝen him is.    c 1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 188 It wole make hise heeris longe & make hem sitte faste.    1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 8 b, Persones that‥stycke fast in theyr owne blynde fantasy.    1535 Coverdale Ps. xxxiii. 9 For‥loke what he commaundeth, it stondeth fast.    1563-87 Foxe A. & M. (1684) III. 112 Whose faith may be the faster fixed on Gods verity.    1566 T. Stapleton Ret. Untr. Jewel i. 37 He sitteth so fast upon the bare wordes.    1611 Bible 1 Cor. xvi. 13 Stand fast in the faith.    1726 G. Shelvocke Voy. round World (1757) 202 Their fire had little or no effect. All stood fast with us.    1777 H. Gates in Sparks Corr. Amer. Rev. (1853) I. 548, I have seen the Mohawk River fast frozen on the 10th of November.    1789 Cowper Ann. Mem. 1789. 45 The symbol of a righteous reign Sat fast on George's brows again.    1815 Scott Paul's Lett. (1839) 124 Stand fast, 95th‥we must not be beat.    1843 Macaulay Lays Anc. Rome, Virginia, No cries were there, but teeth set fast.    1879 F. W. Robinson Coward Conscience i. i, Stick fast to the hand-rail.

 

 

6. a.6.a Quickly, rapidly, swiftly.

   For the development of this sense from the primary sense 'firmly', cf. 1 d, 4, 5, and expressions like 'to run hard'. It does not appear that this sense is recorded in OE., but it belongs to MHG. vaste, ON. fast.

 

   c 1205 Lay. 7986 He warnede alle his cnihtes‥& fusden an veste.    1297 R. Glouc. (1724) 401 Þo þe Cristyne yt vnderȝete, aȝen hii wende vaste.    a 1300 Cursor M. 3866 (Cott.) It was ferli‥How fast þai multiplid þar.    1340 Hampole Pr. Consc. 4003 Takens, war-thurgh he may understande, Þat þe day of dome es fast comande.    c 1450 St. Cuthbert (Surtees) 7437, I prayde my felowes fast to ryde.    1548 Hall Chron. 113 b, The Frenchemen‥fled into the toune so faste, that one letted the other to entre.    1585 J. B. tr. P. Viret's Sch. Beastes B viij b, Men doo not so fast breake them, as she repaireth and amendeth them.    1632 Lithgow Trav. vi. 298 The Camell‥hath a most slow and lazy pace‥neither can he goe faster although he would.    1688 J. Smith Baroscope 71 The Mercury then generally Rises very fast of a sudden.    1719 De Foe Crusoe (1840) I. xv. 268, I found he‥would make it go almost as swift and fast again as I could.    1776 Adam Smith W.N. i. xi. (1869) I. 264 The rate of profit‥is‥highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.    1814 Scott Ld. of Isles ii. xiii, Barendoun fled fast away.    1876 Trevelyan Macaulay II. 2 His health was breaking fast.    1893 Sir L. W. Cave in Law Times XCV. 26/1 The frequent applications to commit for contempt of court are fast bringing the law itself into contempt.

 

fast, a.

 

(fɑːst, -æ-)

 

Forms: 1-2 fæst, 2 fest, 3 Orm. fasst, 4 south. dial. vest, 4-6 faste, 3- fast.

 

[Com. Teut.: OE. fæst corresponds to OFris. fest, OS. fast (Du. vast), OHG. festi (MHG. veste, mod.HG. fest), ON. fastr; prob. repr. OTeut. *fastu- (the word having, like other adj. u stems, passed into the o and i declensions), cogn. with Goth. fastan to keep, guard, observe.]

 

 

II.II Rapid.

   [This sense was app. developed first in the adv., and thence transferred to the adj.: see fast adv.]

 

8. a.II.8.a Of action, motion, or progress: Quick, swift. Hence of an agent: (a) Moving quickly; (b) Imparting quick motion to something. fast and furious: see furious a. 1 d.

   [In the first quot. the sense may be 'strong, vigorous' (cf. 1, 2 and the adv. 1 d.)]

 

   a 1300 Cursor M. 7169 (Cott.) Sampson‥gaue a braid sa fers and fast, þat all þe bandes of him brast.    1552 Huloet, Fast wryter, impiger scriba.    1594 Shakes. Rich. III, iii. i. 103 Idle Weeds are fast in growth.    c 1610 Speed in Lett. Lit. Men (Camden) 109 With a fast eye you had overune it.    a 1627 Middleton Chaste Maid v. i, A fair, fast, legible hand.    1662 J. Davies tr. Mandelslo's Trav. E. Ind. 120 A hundred Boats, all which row for the fastest.    1712 Swift Jrnl. to Stella 12 Dec., I am slower, but MD is faster.    1788 Franklin Autobiog. Wks. 1887 I. 287 His ship‥foul to a degree that must necessarily hinder her fast sailing.    1837 Dickens Pickw. xiv, The vixenish mare with the fast pace.    1837 C. J. Apperley The Road (1851) 32 The average price of horses for fast coaches.    1886 Manch. Exam. 7 Jan. 5/2 The want felt in Lancashire of a good fast bowler.    1886 T. Hopkins 'Twixt Love & Duty xli, The fast train was exchanged for a local one.    1888 Steel Cricket iii. 164 It is strange that English first-class cricket is so devoid of really fast bowling.

 

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

...the most subtle and rarely acknowledged would have to be the fact that we weren’t educated to the fact that not all of our peers were being indoctrinated with the same overweening sense of self-esteem that we were.  Not everyone grew up believing that that they could be a marine biologist-ambassador- heavy metal drummer. At least that’s the only plausible explanation I can come up with for the fact, as evidenced by...

 

I gave up reading after this, and that's a fact, Jack.

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