I’m not sure exactly what has happened over the years, but we seem to have moved from very proper language usage, to an anything goes mentality when it comes to words. I’m ok with it when new slang words come along. I don’t always like them, but I understand that we’ve always come up with strange words and phrases, and each generation seems to have its list of slang. It kind of identifies us. One of my yearbook covers was a collage of all the slang we used back in 1973, and I still love looking at it.
But when it comes to people just plain making up words, or using a word with a slightly different spelling than the actual word, you might as well ask me to chew on a piece of tin foil! Supposably, it’s ok to use something just close enough to a real word that it will irritate the hell out of those of us who are aware of that real word, its spelling, and usage. All the sudden, some folks started using these near misses, and then a lot of other folks heard them, or read them, and started using them, too.
Anyways, when I come acrost one of these words, it makes me crazy! I have to sit down and have an expresso. I can’t help it if I am orientated to proper usage. You might call me a language affectionado. And it doesn’t seem to matter how important you are, or how publicly you misuse our language. We suffered through eight years of listening to a President say nucular, irregardless of his influential position. It’s not that I think I am better then they are, but if you’re going to speak or write in public, I think you should check your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage. Especially if you’re the POTUS.
It flustrates me to no end when someone orders sherbert. For all intensive purposes, I could care less if someone misspeaks and utters one of these in a flurry of conversation. I’ve even misspoken myself many a time. But when they really don’t know that what they’re saying is wrong, continue to use the wrong word, and sometimes even argue that they are right, that’s when I cringe. I will admit that when I hear a friend misuse a word, I sometimes don’t correct them. I am embarrassed for them, and don’t want to sound like a know-it-all. But I will also admit that once that happens, it does change my impression of them.
Do you think it’s a hearing problem? Has the increased noise in our world caused us to hear almost what the word or phrase is, and then we just start saying it that way? Or was it spelling that led some astray? Or maybe pronunciation? I would offer to borrow them a dictionary, but they might just itch their heads in wonder.