Category Archives: Language

Word-nerdiness and linguistic quandaries.

For those who can’t talk real good…

Top 10 Mispronunciations that are more annoying [to me] than “nucular.”

I know that ‘nucular’ gets some extra time in the hot seat because of politicians, but there are mispronunciations that are much more bothersome to me. I come across them more often, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Call me weird, but I really appreciate being corrected when I say something wrong, so that I don’t sound ignorant, disrespectful, or dumb. It doesn’t have to be in a mean way. (I really have to work on my approach. I’ve recently learned I have a blunter, sharper delivery than I ever imagined.)

I would love it if you would leave a comment with one or two that really should be on this list. It’s good to say things right. 😉

Expresso–As in, “Can I get an extra shot of expresso?” I suppose if you are referring to espresso’s occasional natural diarrhetic effect…then it’s fitting.

Perfek–As in, “That dive was a perfek ten!” If E is your SL, then I understand. It’s not easy at first.

Comferble–As in, “This chair is so comferble.” I know the true pronunciation sounds ridiculous, but at least give a nod to the central ‘t’ with the conventional “comftorble.”

Chai Tea–Since “chai” or something close to it is the word for tea throughout the Asian continent, the “tea” is simply redundant.

Worcestershire–You know you can’t say it either.

I don’t know if I’m picking on the word, or on the institutionalized butchering of it, but it sure is good stuff to cook with, irregardless.

(Doh!)

Irregardless–It’s in the dictionary now with the “nonstandard” tag. So I don’t dwell on it. But it is a double negative, still.

Punkin–As in, “Can I get some punkin pie.” I prefer ‘bumpkin’ if you are going to botch the beloved gourd.

Ornch–Why does anyone say “orange” when they refer to the fruit form, but in the next sentence ask for a glass of “ornch juice”?

Gowda–As in the cheese.

Orientated–When instead the person means “oriented” as in positioned in a certain way.

-eh!–This suffix is increasingly affixed to the last word of many sentences proceeding from the mouths of certain persons (I won’t say which gender), of a certain socioeconomic bracket (middle-upper), and especially from a certain region (I live in Huntington Beach.) Usually used for emphasis. Examples are:

  • Oh my gawd-eh!
  • That’s SO random-eh!
  • She was TOtally wasted-eh!.
  • (“-uh!” is a variation, of course.) NOooo-uh!
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Distortion 1: All or Nothing

I’m beginning a series on some of David Burns cognitive distortions. It helps me to really see them for what they are and how I apply them to my thinking. Hopefully it will help someone else realize they are doing it too to their detriment.

◊ All-or-nothing (also called ‘splitting’) is that tendency to sort everything into absolute terms like “always,” “never,” “every time,” and an oldie but goodie “utterly,” etc. If you really try and think about it, very few aspects of human behavior are absolute. There is usually at least one time you did “that thing” differently. You grow in knowledge and ability so repeat your actions but not exactly the same way; or, you mess up 7 out of 10 times but those other 3 are magical.

Sad that Google Suggests only one thing to follow this question. And, yet again, teenagers are singled out as more stupid than other populations. Don’t buy into it! 

 ◊ I suppose it tends to follow a natural progression. Hindsight is 20×20, our brains develop and change, and these facts conspire to make us think we are over it.

◊ Why do we do this? Because it’s a heuristic that has worked before—a mental shortcut which makes it easier to move on. For example, if you are tired of a relationship with a friend that on certain occasions puts you down, you may be torn as to whether you should continue the relationship. Sometimes they make you feel good, and sometimes bad, so it’s not 100% miserable. You might even feel guilty getting rid of them for “sometimes bad” because you are disregarding the good. So you split it, all-or-nothing: “That guy is always putting me down.” Then you can sever the connection, because who’s going to fault you for someone who’s always bad to you?

To be fair, we have to take mental shortcuts to survive and to get through life. These shortcuts aren’t all bad of course, but they are easily misapplied and go unchecked. A rule of thumb easily slips into a prejudice, some kind of fear, enabling an escape from opportunity…

 

It wasn’t hard to realize and accept that I pull this distortion all the time…oops, I mean a lot. But once I was aware Ifound out how hard it is to stop—how pervasive it is, how rampant it is in my family. It enables my self-sabotaging “don’t bother trying” thoughts. How many times have I missed out on opportunities to do something new and add value to my world because of this language? I just discovered Joel Runyan the other day—people like that are fascinating to me because they blew the cap off of the realm of possibility long ago.

Mediation of reality repackaged

Saying, “That just happened!” immediately after something happens.

Is it just me, or are people using this phrase at an increasingly alarming rate?

If you aren’t sure how this works here are some examples:

(Person spills coffee on table and/or self)…”That JUST happened!”

(Car accident in intersection out the window)…”That just HAPPENED?”

(Object which is supposed to be inanimate and non-sentient jumps off the shelf)…”That just happened.”

Usually it is accompanied–I’ve observed–by a facial expression which does not match the event at hand. In fact, I think maybe this phrase is in lieu of an expression of shock, disappointment, surprise, or embarrassment.

Perhaps this trend is a result of our ever-postering-post-modernism combined with a general desensitization to reality. Indeed, things that happen on TV seem more real than what REALLY happens when you watch enough of it.

What do you think about this possible trending?