Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let's Conversate For a Minute

So does that word bother you as much as it does me???? And if you haven't figured out the word that bothers me is "conversate" then you might not need to read the rest of this blog. You might need to break out Webster's and try looking up that word.

Now granted, I don't watch much television, mainly because I don't have time and that makes it hard to accidently come across a show that I'll want to follow. Hard to find a show if you're not watching at all. And maybe everyone else has gotten used to this new God-awful way that people are speaking, but I can't handle it. It all started by watching one of those reality dating shows years ago and I kept hearing the datees say things like "I like to go out to dinner, you know conversate for a while." Huh?

Last night on American Idol (my vice - I admit), a girl auditioning actually said "My style works well with my confidentiality." I'm assuming that she thinks her clothes represent her confidence - but that's NOT what she said. What she instead implied is that her clothes were helping to hide something and if you saw the way she was dressed you would have decided - HELL, NO! Her top plunged so deeply that the judged keep pulling on their own shirts to try and get her to monitor the situation and not pop out during her tryout, during which she had to bounce around in said plunging blouse.

So what the f??????? Are these people trying to sound intelligent, because if so, their words are having just the opposite effect. They sound like morons. And I can't fail but to notice that they never tend to butcher or misuse a one syllable word. They're always batting for the fence by twisting around some word that is at least three syllables or more.

Maybe they just need a bit of advice like Using big words does not make you sound important or smart. Especially if you're not going to use them properly. I mean, why say something stupid like "I like to have dinner and conversate" when it's far easier (and more correct) to simply say "I like to have dinner and talk."

I read somewhere that most mass market fiction is written on a fifth to eighth grade level, and that makes perfectly good sense to me. People don't want to run for the dictionary when they're escaping with a book. Save the complicated words for non-fiction or literary works. So if mass market fiction sees the benefit of producing books written simply and for the well, masses, then why don't people think everyday talking should be that way also?

I speak incorrectly all the time but I don't completely butcher the English language. And according to all those standardized tests you take through school, I have a much higher than average vocabulary - I just don't see the need to use it in a regular day. The incorrect speaking I take part in is using southern words and expressions based on my upbringing and roots. Heck, I was in college before I found out "tump" wasn't a word. As in "If you keep leaning back in that chair, you're going to tump over." (A favorite of my grandmas) And I say "y'all" and "ain't" and a whole slew of other southern things. But I'm still not using them incorrectly when I say them.

Now, I'm certainly not advocating this manner of speak in business - especially in correspondance. No sense looking like a redneck in your email, after all, it could be around forever. And we definitely don't want attorneys to dumb things down. Heck, they're paid lots of money to confuse people with words.

Essentially, the bottom line is - speak based on your background, but don't try using big words to make you sound smarter or more important. If you lack the education to do so, you will only sound foolish. If you have the education to do so, you tend to sound pompous.


Cindy Taylor said...

lmao! I cracked up when she said "confidentiality". There was no way they could tape that and not show it on national TV. It's an instant classic.

Wendy Roberts said...

Now I wish I'd watched the darn show!

I love watching someone trip over their tongue when they're trying to impress the world with their ability to use (incorrectly) a big word.

Tori Lennox said...

ROFL!!! Actually, I think somebody on our local news used the non-word "conversate" the other day. I seem to recall laughing at them over it. Of course, I laugh at our local news people a lot. Their vocabulary stinks and half the time they can't read the teleprompter. It gives me lots of amusement. *g*

The other day one of the reporters was out in the field doing a story on flood waters from one of the rivers. He was talking about the water receding except he didn't say "receding", he said "residing". I cracked up. I don't think he ever even knew he'd said something that could exactly the opposite of what he meant.

Kim Stagliano said...

Amen, sister. How about nuke-u-lar and orientated? Conversate. Dear God....

Jana DeLeon said...

cindy - oh definitely, it HAD to make prime time!

wendy - you should check it out and prepare to laugh or cringe, depending on your personality.

ROFLOL at the "residing" water. OMG that is too funny. What news station is that, tori!

hi kim - yeah, orientated is an all-time favorite of mine and heck, nuke-u-lar has been made popular again by our president. :)

AnnieColleen said...

My childhood-word-that-wasn't is 'arnry'. (This would be from OK/IL - military brat.) Apparently the word the grown-ups were using back then was 'ornery'. But they DON'T mean the same thing! 'Ornery' means stubborn. 'Arnry' means mischievous or stirring up trouble (as applied to a child, not a negative connotation). I was very disappointed not to be able to use 'arnry' any more; it's such a useful word!

Sassy Sistah said...

Tell it, Sister!

You've hit on one of my pet peeves! *Conversate* indeed! And the girl and the *confidentiality* comment must be a real moron. I love regional speech and wrote about it recently on my blog. The above is not regional speech - it's idiocy.

But I'll tell you what - even though I was raised in the rural south - I was taught to speak proper English - especially when I'm out in public!

Jana DeLeon said...

annie - I know arnry. I think it's been used to describe me a time or two. :)

hi sassy - you're so right. It's absolute idiocy. And the worst part is that they think they sound important and smart. :)

missygail said...

AnnieColleen: Ornery was a word that was used a lot when I was a kid (I'm from OK). "That boy is awful ornery."

Also, another way it was used was for a sexually aroused person. A father tells his teenage daughter, "You better watch where that boy puts his hands, he seems a bit ornery."

I actually came across this post because I write erotic stories and I was using ornery in that form. I was told I was using it wrong in ALL my stories.

I knew that ornery met cantankerous, but I was looking for a slang dictionary that said it also could mean mischievous or aroused. How could a word be used so much with that meaning and not have any record of it? Funk and Wagnalls really need to change their definition.

Alastair said...

Lay off it. Take American 'English' or leave it. Stop trying to pick apart little parts you don't think are correct.
I was amused when you implore readers to "break out Webster's"... That 'dictionary' is a work of fiction and for the record; 'and' cannot begin a sentence.

There are plenty of books on grammar and spelling you will be able to track down fairly easily online (although the postage fee might be substantial to have it posted from an english speaking country seeing as there aren't any close to your country).

One of my favourite books is the Oxford English Dictionary - look into it!

Yours faithfully,
Alastair Gilfillan

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