Wednesday, January 3, 2007

banished words

Lake Superior State University has issued its 2007 list of banished words.  Some are annoying words and phrases, such as celebrity combo names (e.g., TomKat).  Others are incorrect usages, such as freely substituting healthy for healthful (while your salad may be healthful, it isn't healthy--it's dead).

At the bottom of the page, readers are invited to submit their own nominations for 2008.


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sigh. Neologisms are one of the only cultural assets that American English can properly claim. I'd argue that the only other meaningful linguistic innovation we have is the (recently emergent? increasingly common?) practice of "verbing" nouns. And they admit that "google" is replacing "search" (although this is really only true w/r/t the internet) so if we can have one, why not the other?

Sure, I agree with the LSSU folks that celebrity name combinations are obnoxious, but only because the celebrities themselves are obnoxious. A headline containing "Brangelina" doesn't put me off any more than "Angelina- Pregnant AGAIN!? WE HAVE PHOTOZZ!!1!" becuase the source of my annoyance isn't the name, it's that someone wasted ink printing the story, and some sad loser will buy the magazine it's printed in.

The list itself is impressive only in its prescient ability to deny cultural and technological advances of 2006 and 2007. Just today, Apple today announced the iPhone, insuring that "i-something" will continue to be a widely-used noun for at least the next 10 years. At least, that is, in places where cell phones can be expected to work- guess Michigan doesn't have to worry about that. "We're pregnant?" Sure, because men should be at work, and women should be barefoot and pregnant, in the kitchen, and dinner better be on the plate when he walks in the door, right? No room for "we" in Michigan. "pwned?" If you're seeing this so much, perhaps you spend too much time surfing the web. afaik it's not a term that can be spoken in face-to-face conversation- but I guess if you're drunk in your dorm room becuase the sun goes down at 3:30 PM, sitting in front of your computer is just about all you can expect to do.

Upjohn/Pfizer is gone. The US auto industry is dying. More people left the state of Michigan in 2006 than any other state of the union. If LSSU wants to perpetuate the idea that Michigan is only a "flyover state," peopled only with Luddites and Canadians, this feature is a huge step in the right direction.

Posted by: smiley | Jan 9, 2007 11:02:14 PM

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