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Is this OK?

February 18, 2011 2 comments

OK magazineThe BBC magazine has an article about the origins of OK by Allan Metcalfe who, extraordinarily, has managed to squeeze a whole book out of this useful and ubiquitous abbreviation (not Desmond’s ridiculous sleb magazine).

As an analysis, it’s rather undercooked. Metcalfe ponders:

But what makes OK so useful that we incorporate it into so many conversations? It’s not that it was needed to “fill a gap” in any language. Before 1839, English speakers had “yes”, “good”, “fine”, “excellent”, “satisfactory”, and “all right”.

Well, so they did. And they used all of them, even though the shades of meaning between many of them are so slight that even a mantis shrimp would have difficulty discerning them. In a language as promiscuously acquisitive as English, having to “fill a gap” is hardly any kind of criterion for whether a word is adopted or not.

Nonetheless, having posited an non-existent criterion, Metcalfe rushes in to fill it: Read more…

Categories: BBC, fad words Tags:

ImpactWatch…cont

June 19, 2010 Leave a comment

From the Sevenoaks Chronicle:

Sevenoaks Chronicle report

Sub-prime subbing: The Sevenoaks Chronicle

Um… “affect”, anyone?

Hooray! Correct use of “pressurised” spotted

June 7, 2010 Leave a comment

From Richard North’s EUReferendum website, about the euro:

What we have been seeing, says Steven Barrow, a currencies analyst at Standard Bank in London, was “the market pressurized the whole of the eurozone.”

Quite correct, at least in its use of “pressurise”, which, as eny fule kno, means:

produce or maintain raised pressure artificially in (a gas or its container)

It does not mean “press”, “force”, “persuade” or any similar simple synonym that lazy, unthinking churnalists in the MSM commonly use it to sound big and clever.

What Mr Barrow is saying is that the markets created such an “atmosphere” within the eurozone, in the same way a plane does within its passenger and flight crew cabins, that the euro reacted in a certain way.  An apt and therefore striking metaphor.

Given the weblink on Mr North’s page and the American spelling “pressurize” I take it this is from the Wall Street Journal, which is hidden behind one of Mr Murdoch’s fabulous (but doomed) new paywalls, so I can’t quote from it directly.

Categories: churnalism, fad words, Jargon

Are you sensitised to this jargon?

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

A downpage nib from today’s Guardian:

Premature babies ‘more sensitised to pain’

Premature babies are sensitised to pain by intensive care treatments they receive after birth, a new study suggests.

First up, “sensitise” is a jargon, scientific word. It means “to make someone or something respond to certain stimuli”. So what the Guardian is telling us is that premature babies respond to pain because of intensive care. Read more…