"Set your irregardless meter to cromulent!" May 18, 2009 10:38 AM   Subscribe


When you go around flaunting how tasty your brain is like that, don't be surprised when all the zombies go straight for your section of the human buffet.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:47 AM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


credulous

I do not think this word means what you think it means.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:48 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


how can zombies go straight when they lurch and shuffle? - you seem confused
posted by pyramid termite at 10:49 AM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


This thread is going to screw up his numbers so bad.
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:50 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ack! I should give proper attribution on the thread title blue beetle, and the appropriate via.
posted by slogger at 10:54 AM on May 18, 2009


it's clear to me that farmers must now practice rigation to avoid controversy
posted by pyramid termite at 10:54 AM on May 18, 2009


My high school nurse once corrected me severely for saying "irregardless". I haven't said it since.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:54 AM on May 18, 2009


Sys Rq: "I do not think this word means what you think it means."

You're referring to this (a typical context within that post): "While I don’t factor this into my analysis above in any meaningful way, it’s worth noting that not all uses of the word are credulous."

He seems to be using it in the sense of a somewhat self-referential credulity. i.e. Does the speaker believe that what he himself am saying is true? Something like the reverse of "ironic" or "sarcastic". I think it falls pretty close to valid use of the word.
posted by Plutor at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2009


Oy. Irregardless. How do people learn to use this word? It feels so awkward in the mouth and contributes nothing of value to the language. Pretentious people who think it makes them sound smart could easily and more conveniently use the "x notwithstanding" construction. And plainspoken folk can just actively negate whatever it is they want not to consider in conversation. Have I been missing all this time some strange tertium quid of semi-pretentious, willfully awkward locutors?

This term is a conversational dodo and its ongoing resuscitation fills me not with annoyance, but a confused bemusement. Thanks cortex. You've done yeoman's work here, irregardless of the subject matter's inherent idiocy.
posted by felix betachat at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2009


Plutor: "he himself am saying"

Shoot me.
posted by Plutor at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "credulous" started out as a placeholder and then I never went back and either put up a nonce definition for it or change the term. It may not be super tight, but I think it's reasonable at least.

What I'm going for there is the notion that someone is treating the word as unremarkable, using it not for it's meta-connotations re: usage but just because it's the word they thought fit, more or less interchangably with either "regardless" or "irrespective".

So, in that sense, they are passively credulous about "irregardless"'s lack of reactivity. It doesn't appear to be something they are using with any pause or self-consciousness.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2009


"Irregardless" was on my 11th grade English teachers list of Things You Should Never Do, along with creating new words ending in "-wise."
posted by mkb at 10:59 AM on May 18, 2009


My high school nurse once corrected me severely

Scandalous!
posted by odinsdream at 11:00 AM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


This subject is clearly inflammable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 AM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Disregardlessness.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2009


It's in the dictionary. Look it up.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 11:12 AM on May 18, 2009


how can zombies go straight when they lurch and shuffle? - you seem confused

We go forward, darling; never straight.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:13 AM on May 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is "irregardless" peculiar to USian Engish?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:15 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is "irregardless" peculiar to USian Engish?

No. But it is peculiar to American English. (I kid - let's not start that one.)
posted by The World Famous at 11:22 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"USian"

God, this word. A firing squad is too good for these people.
posted by felix betachat at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2009 [28 favorites]


What about a firing squad that shoots clowns with knives onto your face? Because that would be pretty bad.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:25 AM on May 18, 2009 [27 favorites]


The general notion of language peeves could probably be expressed in terms of this property fairly well, if one was so inclined.

If one WERE so inclined, thank you.
posted by DU at 11:29 AM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


For some reason this is making me sad. I'm gonna to lie face down on the couch for a few days.
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on May 18, 2009


Dude, what? That is the most awesome thing I've heard today. Its awesomeness strains credulity!
posted by Mister_A at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2009


My high school nurse once corrected me severely for saying "irregardless". I haven't said it since.

Dear Penthouse Forum:

I never thought this would happen to me, but then I accidentally bit open my pen during debate team practice and was sent to the nurse's office...
posted by DU at 11:33 AM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Letting the use of USian slide is doing your part to make people feel they're sticking it to the man. Be kind to the USian users. Even if it does insult Mexico.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:33 AM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Several of the askme comments were from questions specifically asking about one or another usage issue or peeve stuff in general; if you want to go trip down the psychic landscape of mefi peevishness you can give these threads a shot. I'm sure there are more out there.

One thing I didn't look at in any real detail was the rate of self-conscious vs. credulous use as a function of time or as a function of thread length. It seems like in the very early days of the site it got fewer reactions, but I don't know if that's because (a) average peevishness itself increased over time or (b) net number of potentially peeved eyeballs increased over time. Or if there was some growing collective annoyance at the word, though given it's overall rarity that doesn't seem super likely to me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2009


And, yes, USian is I would guess one of the candidates for the high-reactivity podium.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:35 AM on May 18, 2009




Next up :

...and...hipster?
posted by felix betachat at 11:40 AM on May 18, 2009


if you want to go trip down the psychic landscape of mefi peevishness you can give these threads a shot

See also this recent MeTa about putting multiple links in a bunch of random words.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:45 AM on May 18, 2009


What about abuse of "literally"? I think that's pretty much the only one that gets under my skin. It literally makes my head explode.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:45 AM on May 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Anybody who wants to try and do a quick reactivity tally for a given word can do this quick-and-dirty version:

1. Do a site search for the term (e.g. USian). Make sure you're sorting by date, not relevance.

2. Jump to the last (aka oldest) page of the results.

3. Scan up the page, looking for consecutive search results that share a date.

4. If two more comments share a date, consider clicking through to make sure that they're in the same thread, and do a Ctrl-F on the term to glance through the comments and see if the later ones seem to be reacting to, or merely quoting or also by coincidence using, the term in question.

4. Make two tallies: one of each entry that doesn't have any responses specifically to the usage itself (your "inert" uses), and on of each entry that does have one or more responses to the usage.

Note: do not tally the responsive comments themselves; the question of their reactivity doesn't really come into play in this way of thinking.

You can zip through that sort of thing in a fraction of the time it took me to do the full annotation I did for the blog entry here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:51 AM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I couldn't figure out whether your analysis included deleted comments, cortex? It's not too hard to imagine that there are some number of sequences like the following, especially in AskMe:

A: Irregardless, [here is a totally viable answer to the question]
B: Irregardless LOL WHUT?!
[jessamyn deletes B]

That would be reason to think that the ratio of reactive to inert instances as stated is low.

Either way, good work.
posted by Kwine at 11:57 AM on May 18, 2009


See also this recent MeTa about putting multiple links in a bunch of random words.

hurf durf semantic linker
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2009


I couldn't figure out whether your analysis included deleted comments, cortex?

Nope, it doesn't. I used the site search as my interface for simplicity's sake, so deleted stuff was ignored.

And that's something I may take an ancillary poke at via the db, yeah, see if there's a significant number of deleted spit-take comments that are trending the askme numbers down. My suspicion is that the count is neither non-zero nor enough to get askme flush with mefi or meta, though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:00 PM on May 18, 2009


How do people learn to use this word?

I think cortex has it generally correct. People are familiar with the words regardless and irrespective and then generally mash them up in their brains into irregardless with the intention of meaning "without regard to."
posted by dios at 12:04 PM on May 18, 2009



For some reason this is making me sad. I'm gonna to lie face down on the couch for a few days.


Sometimes grammar-induced sadness is indistinguishable from mono.
posted by otolith at 12:06 PM on May 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


If it really bothers you to see one of these words, help is a Greasemonkey script away.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 12:07 PM on May 18, 2009


"11th grade English teachers list of Things You Should Never Do"

This list of things should probably be compromised at every opportunity.

As for irregardless, I think it pales in comparison to such things as :

"ramped up/ramp up/ramping up"

"value add"

"leverage/leveraged"

...but I do realize that English is just a morass of cobbled together crap that's morphing into a new horrible entity daily, so no prescriptivism here.
posted by HopperFan at 12:07 PM on May 18, 2009


I think cortex has it generally correct. People are familiar with the words regardless and irrespective and then generally mash them up in their brains into irregardless with the intention of meaning "without regard to."

I always thought it was because language can handle double negatives, so irregardless is in some sense "without without regard," the second "without" added for emphasis. At least that's how my brain parses it, until someone comes along and tries to convince me otherwise.

Like when you shout "No no no no no no!" nobody thinks you actually mean "Yes!"
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 12:14 PM on May 18, 2009


Like when you shout "No no no no no no!" nobody thinks you actually mean "Yes!"

What about when you shout "Not No!" or "Non-Yes?"
posted by The World Famous at 12:15 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is this a good place to mention what a hilariously colossal prick Ynoxas is being in what has become the obnoxious 'USian' thread? [1 2 3]
posted by koeselitz at 12:20 PM on May 18, 2009


If it really bothers you to see one of these words, help is a Greasemonkey script away.

Oh, so, yes, this is the other idea I had before I decided to put together the blog post:

A PeeveWarning script. What it would do is check the page for any of the lexical items on its list, and highlight them with a hyperlink to a glossary of peeves with entries for each item.

So if you were using it and looking at a page, "irregardless" would be linked along with e.g. "could of" and "USian" and "leveraging" and whatever other things were included.

Sort of a combination snark-patrol/heads-up/usage-guide thing for unveiling the silent world of peevishness that surrounds us at all times.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:22 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Misuse of "begging the question" is my pet peeve, along with the "evolving language" nonsense that follow -- weak attempts at covering the fact that they are WRONG.
posted by cj_ at 12:37 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I could care less about this.
posted by brain_drain at 12:37 PM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


ksome is the word that irs me the most.
posted by Rumple at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2009


At first this subject made me feel nauseous but then I just threw up.
posted by fuse theorem at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"ramped up/ramp up/ramping up"

"value add"

"leverage/leveraged"


I'm just so, so glad we're all done "on-ramping" by now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


One place where double negatives worked for me: The Magnetic Fields' "For We Are the King of the Boudoir," with
Should modesty allow us to describe our prowesslessnesslessness
'twould be quite hard to overstate...
It's about lacking any lacks. And of course it's very tongue-in-cheek.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:41 PM on May 18, 2009


Glad to know I should be shot for liking the word "USian" as a disambiguation of "American."

Reminds me of an old joke linguists tell, about a town meeting to consider bilingual education in a school district at which a dumb fuck ignoramus stands up and declares "If English was good enough for Jesus Chris, it's good enough for me."

Yeehaw, I'm proud to be an American, where at least my soda refills are free.

Pardon me, I've got a communication coming in on my portable mobile telephone. I think it might be my mental health care provider. He declares that I am passing too much of my leisure time on the global computer network.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:42 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]



What about abuse of "literally"? I think that's pretty much the only one that gets under my skin.


Or the use of "ironic" when someone really means "a coincidence."
posted by Pax at 12:43 PM on May 18, 2009


Or the relatively new use of "random."
posted by Pax at 12:44 PM on May 18, 2009


One thing I didn't look at in any real detail was the rate of self-conscious vs. credulous use as a function of time or as a function of thread length.

Chalk me up as someone who uses it in informal settings because I like how it sounds and helps identify and piss off tightasses.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


PeeveWarning could be useful for people writing comments too. To avoid peeves, I'm saying.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2009


Glad to know I should be shot for liking the word "USian" as a disambiguation of "American."

As a linguist, surely you know that words which are denotatively neutral can take on negative connotations, right?
posted by dios at 12:46 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The World Famous: What about when you shout "Not No!" or "Non-Yes?"

I've been shouting
∀x,{x≠y} ⊥ {x⊄y} ⊥ {x∉y}∴y≡∅
at the top of my lungs for a long time now, but nobody seems to notice.
posted by koeselitz at 12:48 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


What about abuse of "literally"? I think that's pretty much the only one that gets under my skin. It literally makes my head explode.


My favourite abuse of "literally" was my college (high school) English teacher, describing the miners in Lawrence's Sons and Lovers: "and at the end of the day, they'd come home from hours of hard work in the mines, and they'd be literally buggered". [Actually, now I write that: does anyone outside of New Zealand use 'buggered' as a slang term for 'incredibly tired, worn out'?]
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:51 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


!nil, or !NULL, or ![NSNull null], depending on context.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:52 PM on May 18, 2009


does anyone outside of New Zealand use 'buggered' as a slang term for 'incredibly tired, worn out'?

No, I mostly use fagged out.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:53 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a word that offends my ear, regardless of it's use intentionally or as an accidental homonym.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:56 PM on May 18, 2009


edit: second *it's* should be *its*, speaking of pet peeves.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:57 PM on May 18, 2009


I ♥ Grammer Nazi's
posted by prufrock at 1:03 PM on May 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Or the relatively new use of "random."

Yeah, that's an annoying one, too.

"Look at me! I've put my sandwich on my head."

"Ha! You're so random!"

Glad to know I should be shot for liking the word "USian" as a disambiguation of "American."

Can I suggest using USA (United States American) instead? It's more accurate, takes less space, and doesn't insult other countries that are a United States of X. I mean, if we're going to be utterly humorless about it, anyway. If not, I still believe ooga_booga's suggestion "Bannerspanglers" is far better.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:03 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I ♥ Grammer Nazi's Apostrophe
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bannerspanglers it is.

*waves wand*
posted by Sys Rq at 1:07 PM on May 18, 2009


Irregardless, this begs the question of whether or not Americans USians literally should be shot for spreading annoying memes.

FTFY.

Here I'm going to say something that in small type so you have to crank up the font size in your browser. But in all actuality you'll probably just skip it
posted by Afroblanco at 1:08 PM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


And there you have it, folks. The most annoying comment in the history of Metafilter.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:09 PM on May 18, 2009


Now someone needs to tell me if it's PEE-can, PEE-khan, Puh-KHAN or PEEKIN. I'll be here eating this cupcake while you figure it out.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:11 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your point that irregardless was missing from MeMu seemed like a challenge to me, so here are some crappy lyrics if anyone wants to take a shot at correcting the cosmic imbalance.


irregardless
it's a word
yes it is
it has meaning

irregardless
speaking of
negatives
stop your screaming

your pescriptivist pedantics
are the worst psuedo-inellectual antics
communication is the language
and the rest is just semantics
rules are made for breaking
like the piss is made for taking
and rhymes made just for saking
really suck

irregardless
it's the same
as regardless
but longer

irregardless
OED
could you be
any wronger?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:11 PM on May 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


Just sayin'
posted by Afroblanco at 1:11 PM on May 18, 2009


prowesslessnesslessness

Holy New Favorite Word. Is that for real?
posted by kingbenny at 1:12 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Is this a good place to mention what a hilariously colossal prick Ynoxas is being in what has become the obnoxious 'USian' thread? [1 2 3]
posted by koeselitz at 12:20 PM"


There are quite a few pricks in that thread, and Ynoxas is not the worst of them.
posted by HopperFan at 1:13 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've become obsessed with this new usage of literally that is neither hyperbolic nor standard.

Examples:

Normal:
I literally walked a mile to find an public restroom in which to barf.


Hyperbole:
That pecan pie was so gross, I literally died.

WTF:
This bakery hasn't been open long, literally just 4 months!

It basically just indicates a shorthand for "Can you believe this fact?!?" and I love it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:23 PM on May 18, 2009


IRFH just unlost the thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:24 PM on May 18, 2009




Or the relatively new use of "random."

Yeah, that's an annoying one, too.
"Look at me! I've put my sandwich on my head."
"Ha! You're so random!"


I've been hearing that for close to twenty years (maybe that's what is meant by "relatively"), but for what it's worth, the example above is really standard usage. Random is implicitly modifying a person's actions, so a clunkier but more explicit form of the sentence would be, "Ha! Your actions are so random!" where random = unpredictable. But that form is nothing new. When we say "You're so funny!" we generally don't mean the person itself is funny, but something about their actions or behaviour is funny.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 1:30 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's Puh-KHAN!
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on May 18, 2009


Or, "we were literally in the middle of nowhere". I absolutely love that. You had literally separated completely from the space-time continuum? What did it look like? Was there a Denny's?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:32 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's Puh-KHAN!

Puh-KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
posted by The World Famous at 1:34 PM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


As I said in the other thread, I too like "US American." The term was coined, I believe, by the former Miss Teen South Carolina. And it works nicely. It allows national chauvinists to be called "USAs." I think they'll like that. It will match their jackets.

And given the person who coined it, it should appeal to the average intelligence of the kind of people who take offense at the "negative connotations" of a "denotatively neutral" word entirely without regard to (irregardless of?) context or intention. Bingo. No more need to be tossing around "pretentious bullshit" (which only makes oh-so-progressive types feel superior to Regular Folks) *or* denotatively imprecise terms.

The Jewish tradition of not spelling out the name of G_d might work too. Perhaps "Am_rican" (reserved for the God-like Real American Citizen) would do the trick. After all, God made America Number One! And last I checked, He was still on our side!

I shudder to think what we'd be arguing about if there had been a prominent early Spanish explorer of the New World named Douchebag Vespucci.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:38 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


(Of course, the actual Amerigo Vespucci was Florentine, although I believe his voyages were funded by Spain. Of course, now we'd say he was an "Italian," although "Italy" didn't exist at the time.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:42 PM on May 18, 2009


"Ha! Your actions are so random!" where random = unpredictable. But that form is nothing new. When we say "You're so funny!" we generally don't mean the person itself is funny, but something about their actions or behaviour is funny.

But "random" in this case wouldn't be accurate. If a friend of ours looked into a bag of numbers painted on wooden tiles, saw the number 7, purposefully chose it, and showed it to us, his selection might have been unpredictable to us, but it wasn't a "random" selection, as our friend purposefully saw it and chose it. By the same token, he purposefully chose to put a sandwich on his head, and while this was unpredictable behavior to us, it wasn't by any means "random", as he came up with this idea himself and purposefully chose to perform it. Which is why it makes even less sense when people call themselves random.

I admit full-heartedly that my annoyance with "random" used this way comes from my annoyance with a certain subset of people notorious for using "random" to describe virtually anything. This annoyance was diminished once I de-activated my old MySpace page, and I feel a lot better now.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:43 PM on May 18, 2009


As I said in the other thread, I too like "US American." The term was coined, I believe, by the former Miss Teen South Carolina. ... And given the person who coined it, it should appeal to the average intelligence of the kind of people who take offense at the "negative connotations" of a "denotatively neutral" word entirely without regard to (irregardless of?) context or intention. Bingo.

"Anyone who disagrees with me is a stupidhead", in other words.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:49 PM on May 18, 2009


I've been hearing that for close to twenty years (maybe that's what is meant by "relatively"),

Great, now I'm old.
posted by Pax at 1:49 PM on May 18, 2009


Now whenever I see or hear cortex, the word, I think Cortexifan. Thanks stupid TV show that trys to be like X-Files!
posted by P.o.B. at 1:50 PM on May 18, 2009


USian is annoying for the same reason it's annoying when Republicans (like our former president) refer to the Democratic Party as "the Democrat Party" -- something even William F. Buckley Jr. objected to. When you say USian, you're getting it wrong on purpose. It comes off as a slur even if you don't mean it that way.

The correct demonym is American. Use it.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:53 PM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's Puh-KHAN!

That reminds me - is there a consensus on a rule for the pronunciation of "-man", as in "Walkman" or "fireman" or "Batman"? Because if you switch "mAn" for "mUHn" in a lot of the -man words, it sounds pretty odd.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:54 PM on May 18, 2009


Now whenever I see or hear cortex, the word, I think Cortexifan. Thanks stupid TV show that trys to be like X-Files!

Oh, man, is this something from Font?
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:55 PM on May 18, 2009


You had literally separated completely from the space-time continuum? What did it look like? Was there a Denny's?

Of course. And the pecan pie is literally out of this world!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Of course, now we'd say he was an "Italian," although "Italy" didn't exist at the time.

Actually, "Italia" did exist at the time, and the name had been in use for a while. It just wasn't the name of a particular state yet. Maybe we should stop calling Italians "Italians," and start calling them something else, just to make sure there's no confusion in referring to the citizens of the state of Italy as opposed to the residents of the Italian penninsula prior to the existence of the political entity currently called "Italia."
posted by The World Famous at 2:01 PM on May 18, 2009


The correct demonym is American. Use it.

Except Europeans use it as a North American analogue of "European". Which of course makes Canadians want to kick some ass Canadian style, which is to say, we and sigh and apologize. So Europeans feel the need to create a different term for inhabitants of the Unites States of America.

Stop being so proscriptivist.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on May 18, 2009


Maybe we should stop calling Italians "Italians," and start calling them something else, just to make sure there's no confusion in referring to the citizens of the state of Italy as opposed to the residents of the Italian penninsula prior to the existence of the political entity currently called "Italia."

We'd call them Latin of course. And their descendants who moved to the USA would be Latin-Americans.

Simple.
posted by GuyZero at 2:08 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stop being so proscriptivist.

Skreekle-deekle megaphone triumverate sparkspot calculator flabadabaly ginjeep hyumada hyoomalasaur. Kidney.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:09 PM on May 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you keep reducing that ad absurdum, it's going to burn.
posted by GuyZero at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Except [some] Europeans use it as a North American analogue of "European"

Fixed. I believe you, but I have never heard a European say "American" to mean anything other than someone from the USA, and I'd wager more money than I have that if you described someone as "American" to a European, they would think you meant someone from the USA rather than a North American. I don't doubt there are Europeans who say "Americans" to mean someone from North America, but then they need to wake up and smell the chimichurri, because they're excluding a whole other continent there.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:14 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


So: Listing pet peeves on a wiki page, for possibly a Greasemonkey script to filter out / shrink / grey out:
* Helpful. In fact, the most brilliant idea ever.
* A checklist to annoy
* A source of annoyance in itself, as people get called out for, e.g. wrongfully calling other people out for "misusing" nauseous.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:15 PM on May 18, 2009


Two rules for life:

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

Never get involved in a grammar dispute on MeTa
posted by spicynuts at 2:16 PM on May 18, 2009


If you keep reducing that ad absurdum, it's going to burn.

Nose army landmine? Ambassador jumpsuit landmine!

(and no, I don't mean you)
posted by Afroblanco at 2:24 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoops, lost that comment in the flood (& compiling an annoyance checklist) - prowesslessnesslessness was coined by that song, as far as I can tell. It's little-used outside of references to the lyrics.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:25 PM on May 18, 2009


I could care less about this.
posted by brain_drain at 12:37 PM on May 18


Indeed. I am irregarding this entire thread.
posted by trip and a half at 2:27 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am irregarding this entire thread.

Easily done. This entire thread looks exactly the same regardless of the angle of observation. It is ridescent.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:32 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


And highly inflammible.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:33 PM on May 18, 2009


Some people call me the space cowman...
And I speak of the pompapatus of looooooovvvvveee...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:35 PM on May 18, 2009


It's from the Edge, the fraying edge of reality...

...and I spelled it wrong. Cortexiphan.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:36 PM on May 18, 2009


More like Cortryptophan, amirite?!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2009


Can we agree that for all intensive purposes this thread has run its course?
posted by spicynuts at 2:52 PM on May 18, 2009


"Exponentially." It pains me to no end that the misuse of this term seems to have been growing over the past few years... at a very rapid pace. Don't use it unless you know what an exponential function is and whether such a function is applicable to what you are describing.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:53 PM on May 18, 2009


Now this thread is getting ritating.
posted by trip and a half at 2:54 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Exponentially." It pains me to no end that the misuse of this term seems to have been growing over the past few years... at a very rapid pace. Don't use it unless you know what an exponential function is and whether such a function is applicable to what you are describing.

That's quite a tangent you're going off on, there. You're the absolute limit!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:55 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


PEOPLE:

It's at this point or at this time.

Choose one. Settle on one or the other, hell, maybe mix them up--use one on weekdays, the other on weekends; whatever inflates your balloon. Just don't mash them together into a--literally--redundant phrase.

"At this point in time" is moronic.

Thank you for your attention, irregardless* of whether you agree or not.

Why does the firefox spell checker think "irregardless" is a word?
posted by maxwelton at 2:57 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure languagehat is going to read this thread and explode in a giant bang of wut
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's wrong with "at this point in time"? I see nothing the matter with it at this juncture.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:02 PM on May 18, 2009


So can I get a summary of what the asks in this thread are?
posted by GuyZero at 3:03 PM on May 18, 2009


No. Irregardless, at this point in time. Also.
posted by rand at 3:09 PM on May 18, 2009


I see nothing the matter with it at this juncture.

You're not at a juncture. The juncture was a couple o' clicks back. You're getting exponentially farther away from it now.
posted by The World Famous at 3:09 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Irregardless -- there is a plate of beans here. Do you over think it?

It's a word I try to avoid using if only because it is clumsy and aesthetically unpleasing unless one wishes to put on the airs of some kind of prat, which unfortunately it seems I sometimes do.

But when we're down to the brass knuckles, in the trenches of war, brawling in the taverns and the streets and jungles of the written and spoken word - I will always choose the living language over the dead and stand with the likes of Clemens/Twain, Vonnegut, Salinger and many others and choose life. A static language is a dead language and a dead culture.

Poetry abhors a dictionary. The dictionary is poison to the creative writer and lover of words. "Only these words and no other!" the dictionary cries, fencing in the accepted and authorized, sorting, ordering.

For the mutability of our language embiggens it. It is perfectly cromulent to accept, embrace and invent new words. The beauty of modern English is that you can grok words you haven't seen before from the tone and context of the jibba-jabbar itself. English is supercalifragilistic and radically shpadoinkle in this way. Totally smeggin' hoopy. Anything else is totally squaresville. I know you understand what the frak I'm saying. It's cool.
posted by loquacious at 3:12 PM on May 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Cortex, I would like to internet-hug you for this. So here is an internet-hug: *hug*
posted by lolichka at 3:18 PM on May 18, 2009


This thread is a litmus test Rosetta Stone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:19 PM on May 18, 2009


Let him who is without syn, throw the first Rosetta Stone.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:22 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stop being so proscriptivist.

As long as we're listing peeves, I'd like to add a meta-peeve here against the idea that a knee-jerk antiprescriptivism is always the only right attitude about matters of usage and style. One can perfectly well acknowledge that languages are ever-evolving social constructs without single authoritative and eternal Right Answers and still not believe that this requires us to love and embrace every well-attested usage. The simple fact that (e.g.) people have been using "infer" to mean "imply" for many centuries does not forbid us to prefer, nor to argue that others in our own language community should also prefer, that we make a rigorous distinction between the two, for any of a wide range of aesthetic or historical or communicative/practical reasons. "Prescriptive" is a bad word to linguists because their field of study describes the human practice of language rather than trying to change it, and because they often need to persuade lay readers that their high-school teachers didn't actually have the one right answer for all time and all situations. But there is no reason why the descriptive mandate of professional linguists should be taken as a blanket license for total linguistic permissiveness, prohibiting anyone from ever making prescriptions and prescriptive arguments about language on other grounds. Stop being so prescriptive about your antiprescriptivism!
posted by RogerB at 3:22 PM on May 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


The only prescription... is more cowbell.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:25 PM on May 18, 2009


Hey, cortex, that was really impactful!

/nit-picky annoyance at my local morning public radio guy, who consistently misuses "impact."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:27 PM on May 18, 2009


Input Wolfram Alpha: What does it mean to exponentially care less?

Result: (graph, with description) "The above graph comes closer and closer to the t-axis, but irregardless of the point in time, you could literally care less."

Input: That's not exponential, that's asymptotic.

Result: Oh. My bad. Whatevs.
posted by metastability at 3:28 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Exponential, asymptotic -- same difference.
posted by brain_drain at 3:33 PM on May 18, 2009


Even though I know the "correct" meaning of "inflammable" is synonymous with "flammable," I try to avoid using it simply because it may be confusing, and "flammable" works just as well without the potential confusion. And when the message I'm trying to convey is this might catch on fire, it seems that that would be a particularly bad time to be misunderstood. I vote for stamping out "inflammable" entirely. (And "nonflammable" is a non-confusing antonym for "flammable," when one is needed.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:33 PM on May 18, 2009


Every time this debate comes up it reminds me of Mary Louise Pratt's essay "Linguistic Utopias," which discusses exactly how deep the cultural divide is between the people who think everyone should say "regardless" and the people who say otherwise.
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:34 PM on May 18, 2009


I'm going to call RogerB's attitude "post-descriptivist."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:35 PM on May 18, 2009


While I'm not going to go so far as to argue with those taking the descriptivist point of view (one which I, for the most part, take as well), there is a problem with their arguments, as well as with people who say that they like to use words like irregardless to irritate tight-asses. That problem is that there are many times in life at which it is important to be able to communicate as clearly and unambiguously as possible, and without knowing the prescriptivist rules and applying them at the appropriate times, one increases one's chance of being misunderstood significantly.

Using "irregardless" to piss off tight-asses is all good and well, but use lends itself to habit, and you might, at some point, find yourself in a situation in which you are dealing with people it is important for you not to piss off, and one of those people might be a tight-ass. If you accidentally use "irregardless" or some other non-standard word out of habit, you might do yourself grave damage. Further, even if you never encounter such a situation yourself, you might well be negatively influencing people around you, who then might encounter such a situation.

(I have a good friend who, with full consciousness of its incorrectness, regularly pronounces the word "chipotle" as chi-poat-al instead of chee-POTE-lay. I find this amusing, and started doing it myself, but have several times accidentally said it the wrong way around people who aren't in on the joke, and then had to explain myself. Embarrassing, to say the least.)

Futher, on a more general level, it's all very good and well for people around here to take a descriptivist approach to language, because for the most part we are all accomplished writers (and speakers). And with things like "irregardless," maybe it doesn't matter so much; everyone knows what you mean by it, and there is nothing it's going to get confused with. But there are language problems out there that are a problem, which are ambiguous and confusing, particularly to people who don't have as good a grasp of the language as we do here on Metafilter. There is a proportion of the English-speaking world that is functionally illiterate or reads at a grade school level, and while I don't have any statistics at my fingertips, I've seen research that indicates that it's a larger percentage of the population than most of us think.

Imprecise language-use leads to misunderstand and confusion, which in the wrong circumstances can do a lot of damage. I'm all for the concept of the evolving language, particularly in literary and poetic venues (which isn't the word I'm looking for, but it will have to do), but there is more use of language in circumstances solely relating to communication than there are literary uses, and it's important to understand the conventional rules so that when it is necessary, one can communicate clearly.

(Also there's the cliche of sloppy writing being indicative of sloppy thought, but I've blathered enough here.)
posted by Caduceus at 3:38 PM on May 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, what RogerB said.
posted by Caduceus at 3:40 PM on May 18, 2009


"USian"

God, this word. A firing squad is too good for these people.


It's a cry for help, I believe.
posted by Zambrano at 3:45 PM on May 18, 2009


I absolutely LOVE seeing all these quirky/strange/novel/mis- uses of words! Literally, random, ironic, irregardless, livid, columbine, awesome, snap, retarded, gay, surf...to name a few just off the top of my head.

In my lifetime I have seen these words change, expand, broaden, narrow, become more and/or less abstract, and all sorts of other things! Not to mention the impact of the events and changing social attitudes that reflect and inspire those changes. It's amazing! The language is a living, constantly evolving thing and we have the ability to witness it, and partake in its flow. Why fight it? Embrace it! People are doing cool stuff with words!
posted by iamkimiam at 3:51 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread is literally the eppytome of Metatalk.
posted by minifigs at 3:54 PM on May 18, 2009


Exponential, asymptotic -- same difference.

ln(e) = e2 ???
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:55 PM on May 18, 2009


What's wrong with "at this point in time"? I see nothing the matter with it at this juncture.

When - now?

Anyhoo, whatever.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:56 PM on May 18, 2009


eppytome

It's like the best book ever. Also, that's how I said it for, like, a lot of years.
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on May 18, 2009


Maybe we should stop calling Italians "Italians," and start calling them something else.

Hmmm... been there, thanks.

Irregardless, Italian (perhaps, Spanish) is the only language coming to mind at the moment that has the exact equivalent of "USian": "statunitense".
I personally go for 'murkin, though.
posted by _dario at 3:58 PM on May 18, 2009


I quite like yankzone over USian.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:03 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


But the use of irregardless is so handy to identify the witless cretin who tries to sound impressive.
posted by Cranberry at 4:09 PM on May 18, 2009


The best pizza joint in town has a pie they call the "Cretan." Being essentially a perpetual twelve-year old, I mentally giggle everytime I order it. Which is often.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:12 PM on May 18, 2009


But the use of irregardless is so handy to identify the witless cretin who tries to sound impressive.

What, so you can irregard their opinions?
posted by The World Famous at 4:19 PM on May 18, 2009


On further review, this thread is gay.
posted by maxwelton at 4:29 PM on May 18, 2009


Which is to say lighthearted and joyful.
posted by maxwelton at 4:29 PM on May 18, 2009


A while back, people started using impact as a verb... and the past tense of that got a bit tricky.

The word "impacted" was already existing in the English language and, well, it doesn't mean what you meant. My mother - who has worked both as an English teacher and a nurse - still screams whenever she hears the phrase "negatively impacted." And this is what she screams:

PERHAPS IF YOU'RE IMPACTED YOU SHOULD TRY SOME FIBER.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:34 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread's already gone to shit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2009


And then she throws a stool at you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2009


How about "party" as a verb? Can I toss that on the bonfire of the vanities as well?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2009


Just sayin'

Gaaah. I have a step-child that will insult the living shit out of someone, then when they take umbrage, follow it up with "Just sayin'."

"You're watching THAT movie? OMG I HATE that stupid movie. Crap! How can you watch that??"
"Wha...?"
"Just sayin."

"OMG, that shirt looks like SHIT on you!"
"Wha...?"
"Just sayin'."

It strains my parenting abilities sometimes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:38 PM on May 18, 2009


This plan is so perfect it's retarded.
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:38 PM on May 18, 2009


This thread is literally the eppytome of Metatalk.

You post flame-bait like that, and Wah-Lah, instant controversy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:39 PM on May 18, 2009


A while back, people started using impact as a verb

A while back being some time around or before the beginning of the 20th century. It has presumably been around since before your mother was born, let alone teaching English and raising the specter of poor old John Wayne.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on May 18, 2009


Gaaah. I have a step-child that will insult the living shit out of someone, then when they take umbrage, follow it up with "Just sayin'."... It strains my parenting abilities sometimes.

Have you considered the "Just flayin'" technique of behavior correction?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:43 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


And then she throws a stool at you.

That's a waste of effort.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on May 18, 2009


Gaaah. I have a step-child that will insult the living shit out of someone, then when they take umbrage, follow it up with "Just sayin'."

My god, that's obnoxious. I've only ever seen it used on MeFi. Usually people are afraid to be that annoying in real life.

I mean, yeah, I went through a phase when I'd say all kinds of unacceptable crap and then follow it with a "just kidding," thinking it was some sort of conversational insurance policy. I must have been 10 or 11.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:46 PM on May 18, 2009


Honestly, if you're going to squeeze out every joke you can get, don't loaf around.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:46 PM on May 18, 2009


DAAAAAAAANG.
posted by liketitanic at 4:48 PM on May 18, 2009


Have you considered the "Just flayin'" technique of behavior correction?

Would that it were legal, or even near the margins that define cultural relativism. *sigh*
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:55 PM on May 18, 2009


Honestly, if you're going to squeeze out every joke you can get, don't loaf around.

I'm sorry, I'm cooking a turducken, so I'm a little distracted right now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:56 PM on May 18, 2009


I have a step-child that will insult the living shit out of someone, then when they take umbrage, follow it up with "Just sayin'."

My favorite is "I don't mean to be a jerk, but"...

Well, obviously you do mean to be a jerk! Or you wouldn't be saying it!

Also: "To be honest..." followed by uncharitable opinion. When said opinion was not requested in any way. No one cares if you're being honest or not! You're still being a dick!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:57 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, those are also weapons in her arsenal of intellectual constructs. She's an angry person.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:59 PM on May 18, 2009


Well, obviously you do mean to be a jerk! Or you wouldn't be saying it!

Or, you're trying to give an honest opinion on a subject without the intention to be a jerk, but the rhetorical device is a sign that you know someone else will uncharitably assign you that role, anyway; so, what the hell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:00 PM on May 18, 2009


She's an angry person.

Well, yeah, this is true.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:01 PM on May 18, 2009


In the same vein:

Beginning a sentence with "OK, promise you won't get mad ..." might as well be the same as saying "I am about to tell you something guaranteed to make you mad." Why do people ask for this promise anyway?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:09 PM on May 18, 2009


So they can be a dick to you for getting mad at them for being a dick to you.

I assume.
posted by dersins at 5:14 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Replace "just sayin'" with "bless your heart."
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 5:24 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


All due respect, but I'm just sayin'.
posted by The World Famous at 5:33 PM on May 18, 2009


What maxwelton said. This thread is totes gay.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:03 PM on May 18, 2009


I love "bless your heart", and its cousins "bless his/her heart", and hope to someday see an SNL sketch mocking the practice.

Bless his heart, he uses irregardless.

Well he learnt it from his momma, and bless her heart, she ain't got two brain cells to rub together.

Must be why she hooked up with Earl, bless his heart he'd fuck a farm animal if he had two beers in him.

Yeah, he's a bit eager to sow his oats.

Why, bless your heart, that's just mean! Did you forget your manners at school up north?

posted by BrotherCaine at 6:04 PM on May 18, 2009


Leela: I don't mean to offend, but this tastes like vomit.
Female Cygnoid: (Sincerely) Thank you!
Leela: No, actually, I did mean to offend a little.
Futurama, "A Leela of Her Own"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:25 PM on May 18, 2009


This thread is totes gay.

Oh god don't start with that shit. A bunch of my friends started saying that "ironically," and now they're just using it as a regular word.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:36 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Like when you shout "No no no no no no!" nobody thinks you actually mean "Yes!"

Only way I ever get laid
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 6:45 PM on May 18, 2009


How is it that this thread has gotten so long and no one has mentioned tamales?

The singular is tamal. Tamal. TAMAL. DON'T TALK TO ME ABOUT A TAMALE.
posted by medusa at 6:53 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know why we don't just revert to the Spanish word; there'll be majority Spanish-speakers here in the USA soon enough anyway. And estadounidense has the benefit of being fun to say.

So, from now on, if anybody asks, I'm estadounidense, and so is anybody else from the USA.
posted by koeselitz at 7:05 PM on May 18, 2009


If and when we get favorites tagging ability, I would like to have a flavor of favorite tag for "linguistical pet peeves violated". These include many mentioned above, such as exponential, literally and impacted. My own dear hobby horses: decimated (is it really minus 10%? really?! did you count?), non-plused when you mean unsurprised, synergy, effect/affect misuse and so on.
This is passive aggressive to the nth degree, I realize, and thus this hobby pony will never be implemented. This is unfortunate as I would also use these tagged gems as bookmarks, to go back to whenever I need a swift pick-me-up of proscriptivist righteousness.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:31 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have never encountered a use for the singular of tamales.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:43 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have never encountered a use for the singular of tamales.

I was totally going to make that point. Who the hell ever eats a tamal? That's just crazy talk. "Yeah... I'll have a beef tamal and a nacho. No - just one of each, thanks. I wouldn't want the MetaFilter lard police to lock me up."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:49 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like prescriptivist advice. It's nice to know the right way of doing things.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:54 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have never encountered a use for the singular of tamales.

When I lived in Hollywood (Tamarind Ave. & Santa Monica Blvd.) I used to eat a lot of tamales off of the street vendors who would peddle them up and down my street. One of my neighbors, a Guatemalan truck driver, used to always refer to a tamale as a tamal. He was the only one. I never understood it, even after I asked him for an explanation.
posted by mrmojoflying at 7:55 PM on May 18, 2009


I'll agree with RogerB, and take it a step further.

I actually like it when people correct my usage, as long as they do it in a kind, non-dickish manner. It gives me the chance to learn something about the language, and helps me use semi-complicated words and constructs intelligently. What could possibly be wrong with that?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:15 PM on May 18, 2009


I have never encountered a use for the singular of tamales.

"If I have one more tamal I'm going to puke - but I love tamales so freakin much - ok just one more tamal, please"
posted by spicynuts at 8:24 PM on May 18, 2009


Could I possibly eat another tamal? But of course!

Wait, this isn't the fat thread? Oh...
posted by slogger at 8:42 PM on May 18, 2009


That's what she said.

(she lives in Skree Lanka)

posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:42 PM on May 18, 2009


Man, that cortex dude needs a day job.
posted by deborah at 8:43 PM on May 18, 2009


Europeans use ["American"] as a North American analogue of "European". Which of course makes Canadians want to kick some ass Canadian style, which is to say, we and sigh and apologize. So Europeans feel the need to create a different term for inhabitants of the Unites States of America.

I Don't Mean To Be A Jerk (TM), but is it possible that when a European refers to a couple of things as American, and one of them is Canadian, it's not because "American" is an ambiguous term, but because, ah, he may have, ah, forgotten about ... ah ... ? And then covers his error by pretending to need a new word so that he can say, instead of, "we saw a couple of American bands play here last month, Arcade Fire and New Pornographers," "we saw a Canadian band, Arcade Fire, and a USian band, the New Pornographers, last month." In summary, my guess is that Europeans don't want to be bothered deciding what's American and what's Canadian. I sure as shit don't want to be bothered deciding what's French and what's Belgian. Now pass the frites.
posted by palliser at 8:43 PM on May 18, 2009


What could possibly be wrong with that?

My name is irregardless, but the answer is Ghostbusters 2.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:44 PM on May 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually like it when people correct my usage, as long as they do it in a kind, non-dickish manner. It gives me the chance to learn something about the language, and helps me use semi-complicated words and constructs intelligently. What could possibly be wrong with that?

The problem is that kind, non-dickish correction of someone else's language is exceedingly rare (at least in my experience). Too often it is aired in pet-peevish grievances (like this thread), where people mistake their emotional responses to certain words and constructions for rational responses to objectively incorrect information.

The crux of the issue is that where any one person comes down on the prescriptive/descriptive spectrum literally defines what is correct usage in their mind. So by definition, it is impossible to know whether language "advice" is enlightening or pedantic. Should we really be correcting people that use the word "ain't"? Where do you draw the line?
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:05 PM on May 18, 2009


Except Europeans use it as a North American analogue of "European".

Uh, no. Most Yurpins I know (and it's a fairly representative sample across Europe) use "american" as "from the US and A", while "canadian" is "from Canada" and "mexican" is "from Mexico". We don't even call Brazilians or Argentinian "american"..

Only thing, we sometimes have a bit of a mixup between the 'american' and the English-speaking canadian. Oh well. At least we don't mix Slovenia and Slovakia.

And, I think Usonian is a nice word. Frank Fucking Lloyd Wright, people.
posted by _dario at 9:15 PM on May 18, 2009


Further, what may be presumed by the lector to be a kind, non-dickish correction is often (even overwhelmingly so in my personal experience) a kind-ish, non-dickish-ish incorrection, conveying some bit of acquired or derived nonsense or other in place of actual balanced, constructive, well-vetted usage advice.

Just because you think you're a superhero for gently passing on your received wisdom to someone else doesn't mean you know what the hell you're talking about, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:22 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyways.
posted by aquafortis at 9:25 PM on May 18, 2009


Anyhoo.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:28 PM on May 18, 2009


Man, rough thread. It's a doggie dog world.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:37 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd read this thread before commenting, but it already has 190 comments, so will comment without having done so, since no one ever reads down this far, so it's OK if I declaw my cat, right?

Especially since I sent cortex a picture of my cat and he hasn't posted it yet.

I miss something? What are people talking about again?

Bah, I'll look once this thread has 500 comments.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:10 PM on May 18, 2009


Especially since I sent cortex a picture of my cat and he hasn't posted it yet.

It's nothing personal. I got behind in posting and now the backlog is terrifying and has me paralyzed. I swear, some day people will, in fact, look at that cat.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:11 PM on May 18, 2009


"...is is..."
posted by zoinks at 10:36 PM on May 18, 2009


He'll post it, but if you hassle him about it he'll photoshop its claws off first.
posted by jacalata at 11:31 PM on May 18, 2009


I like this post, because now I have reference for things to piss people off.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:04 AM on May 19, 2009


For all intensive purposes, it is a pretty useful thread.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:19 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to have a flavor of favorite tag for "linguistical pet peeves violated". These include many mentioned above, such as exponential, literally and impacted. My own dear hobby horses: decimated (is it really minus 10%? really?! did you count?), non-plused when you mean unsurprised, synergy, effect/affect misuse and so on.

Not to jump in with unsolicited advice, but you should backpeddle a little on that; reign in your annoyance, and hone in on the important stuff. It will definately have a beneficent affect on your outlook.

Especially since decimated has been used to mean totally destroyed (or nearly so) for a very long time.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:27 AM on May 19, 2009


You know, when you guys pick on my poor usage, it really hurts my Self of Steam.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:06 AM on May 19, 2009


There's a funny e. flake cartoon in the current New Yorker which shows two Viking warriors with clubs and smoking villages in the background. In the caption, one Viking is saying to another, "Did you know that 'decimate' means you only kill one in ten?"

Apropos of nothing, there's another cartoon in the same issue which shows a coupe in bed, missionary position, with the woman saying to the man "Just because you want to talk dirty doesn't mean you have to give up on good grammar." (Close approximation of remembered caption).

All that said, there are some very funny folk theories of language at work around here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:09 AM on May 19, 2009


The general notion of language peeves could probably be expressed in terms of this property fairly well, if one was so inclined.

If one WERE so inclined, thank you.


Actually, as the original is speaking about something that actually could be as opposed to something contrary to reality, it would be correct to use the indicative "was" as opposed to the sujunctive "were".
posted by Pollomacho at 5:44 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


or the subjunctive even.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:45 AM on May 19, 2009


Just because you think you're a superhero for gently passing on your received wisdom to someone else doesn't mean you know what the hell you're talking about, basically.

If Jesus ever comes down with a couple of new stone tablets with some wisdom for us on them, this should be near the top 5.
posted by spicynuts at 6:06 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've used USians a few times when I mean people from the USA. Often it has been in some sweeping negative generalisation where I wanted to be clear I was poking at US Americans rather than Canadians or Mexicans as well, even though on reflection the US of Mexico makes it a bad alternative.
In my head it is a bit like when people mix up English and British. The English often don't care, but the Welsh and Scottish people get their backs up.
I'll try for North Americans when I mean Can/US/Mex and US Americans when I mean just those people.
In my defense, it does seem to me Americans is a a broad description, and potentially open to misinterpretation. I suspect I've even read comments about American gun trafficking or similar and wondered if the comment was trying to indicate more than the US.
posted by bystander at 6:36 AM on May 19, 2009


or the subjunctive even.

The sufjansteve, actually, as in:

"If I was crying / In the van / with my friend".
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:43 AM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


no one took my canadianbait.
posted by palliser at 6:47 AM on May 19, 2009


I should of known this thread would explode since I last saw it.
posted by Pax at 7:10 AM on May 19, 2009


In my defense, it does seem to me Americans is a a broad description, and potentially open to misinterpretation.

I'm sure we've been over this, but does anyone actually encounter Canadians, Mexicans or anyone in South America that in all earnestness claims "American" as their descriptor? I mean, outside of a theoretical or literal description of what they could call themselves?

*Waits patiently and looks expectantly at Chile*
posted by Pax at 7:16 AM on May 19, 2009


I should of known this thread would explode since I last saw it.

I should've known that eventually someone would hit my pet peeve. I wish my sarcastometer weren't broken, though.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:53 AM on May 19, 2009


aquafortis beat me to it.
posted by caddis at 8:05 AM on May 19, 2009


Gosh, it's so aggravating when people are all prescriptivist just cause someone is randomly saying irregardless instead of whatever, you know? And they'll, like, look at you like they literally want to kill you and stuff, you know, like maybe attack you with a poisonous snake and make you all nauseous? And hopefully, they don't, cause that's literally such a bummer, you know? And you're just telling them like how yankees just means New Englanders and not the rest of the USians and they axe you how you can be all up and arms about that and still say irreguardless and you say you have to prioritize what you get aggravated about, you know?
posted by notashroom at 8:40 AM on May 19, 2009


Apropos of nothing, there's another cartoon in the same issue which shows a coupe in bed, missionary position,...

Was it a deus coupe?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:42 AM on May 19, 2009


Is this something that one would need a vocabulary to understand? Cuz I ain't got nun.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:47 AM on May 19, 2009


*Waits patiently and looks expectantly at Chile*

Dude, they think they're British. Don't even try to figure that out.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2009


USian band, the New Pornographers, last month

no one took my canadianbait.

Sorry, I was asleep.
posted by GuyZero at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2009


Honestly, if you're going to squeeze out every joke you can get, don't loaf around.

I'm sorry, I'm cooking a turducken, so I'm a little distracted right now.


I sure hope there's a log of these. I'd start one, but I've got to drop the kids off at the pool. You get all the crappy tasks when you're number two in command.
posted by owtytrof at 9:41 AM on May 19, 2009


I should of known this thread would explode since I last saw it.

I should've known that eventually someone would hit my pet peeve. I wish my sarcastometer weren't broken, though.


Too subtle?
posted by Pax at 9:58 AM on May 19, 2009


For a while I, wasn't sure what my, biggest pet peeve was but, now I'm pretty sure I've, figured it, out.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:03 AM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am literally shocked, in the electrical sense, at how few electrons have been devoted to its/it's/its' on this page.
posted by Mister_A at 10:14 AM on May 19, 2009


That's because we've all come to accept that the apostrophe in "it's" serves little function, and is mainly a design element, to do with as one chooses.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 10:50 AM on May 19, 2009


What it is is, is that it's...
posted by preparat at 1:39 PM on May 19, 2009


*LIBERTY BELL MARCH *
posted by The Whelk at 1:43 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I was asleep.

I tease, you apologize! I love Canada.

I really do love Canada. The scenery is beautiful; people seem pleased to host tourists; the street food is fantastic; the Francophone regions feel genuinely foreign in a way that makes it even more worth traveling there; Canadians' contributions to North American culture are way out of proportion to their numbers; their sense of humor is hilariously self-deprecating and goofy without the casual -isms you sometimes get from British humor; I felt about my trip to PEI the way I imagine a devout Muslim would feel about the hajj and then actually named my daughter Anne. That is all actually true.
posted by palliser at 2:22 PM on May 19, 2009


True PEI story: so there's apparently only one size of paper for provincial maps in Canada. Ontario gets printed on the same size paper as PEI. Really. So, on our honeymoon, my new wife and I decide to take the day to drive to the far end of the island. 45 minutes later we realize that we may need to find something else to do during the daylight hours as seeing the island isn't going to take as long as we thought.

And PEI is a very awesome vacation. Seriously. Everyone go there. They need the money. But it's also very nice.
posted by GuyZero at 3:10 PM on May 19, 2009


You know maps these days come with "scales" on them to help judge distance. No more dotted lines and big gothic-looking X's on singed parchment.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:58 PM on May 19, 2009


Cortex, your project reminds me of Peter Greenaway's film "Vertical Features".
posted by effluvia at 6:15 PM on May 19, 2009


I cringe at "irregardless" but acknowledge its existence in the dictionary and avoid making a big deal out of it. It just seems unnecessary. But then, we should just be saying anecessary. Unless "a" is the wrong prefix for the original language from which "necessary" arrived.

I have a brother in law who is quite proud of his Larry-the-Cable-Guy-Esque personality. Doesn't brother me and he's usually endearing, but he likes to bristle at stupid stuff. I.e. I'll call homemade nacho cheese "queso" because it's better than "nacho cheese" but more succinct (to me) than "homemade nacho cheese." And besides, the original nachos just had shredded, melted cheese on 'em, and using the Spanish word implies a certain Latin-ness (like salsa vs. sauce!)...brother in law has to bitch: "It's one of my pet peeves when people have to call something by a fancy name instead of what it is. It's cheese, man!"

I reminded him that "pet peeves" are like pet kitties that people pick out and decide to love and cuddle and take as their very own, and his wife (my sis) got all defensive for his honor. They didn't like the "salsa" example either.
posted by aydeejones at 7:40 PM on May 19, 2009


Just offer him some shrimp scampi.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:44 PM on May 19, 2009


Also: Am I the only one that pronounces it like 'War War One' and 'War War Two'? I've always pronounced it that way because I thought everyone else did too (despite the fact it's not written that way).

But I've recently begun to suspect that no one else ever really pronounced it that way, and no one ever corrected me because they haven't picked up on it.
posted by dgaicun at 2:07 AM on May 20, 2009


'Wirl War One' is probably closest to the way I say it.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 3:37 AM on May 20, 2009


...brother in law has to bitch: "It's one of my pet peeves when people have to call something by a fancy name instead of what it is."

I'd be tempted to call everything by the crudest possible name until he relented. "Oops, your shit bowl is all turded up, y'all got one of them sticks that sucks the shit out of the hole?" etc...
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:32 AM on May 20, 2009


Just offer him some shrimp scampi.

Scampi is actually langoustine, not shrimp. To prepare shrimp scampi is to prepare shrimp in the traditional style used to prepare langoustine. Sort of like chicken fried steak for crustacean preparation.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:34 AM on May 20, 2009


Am I the only one that pronounces it like 'War War One' and 'War War Two'?

I pronounce it 'Nacho'.
posted by owtytrof at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2009


"Did you know that 'decimate' means you only kill one in ten?"

Okay, if we kill every last man-jack of 'em-- 100%-- does that mean we've centimated them?
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:25 AM on May 20, 2009


Nope. Centi- means hundredth.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:26 AM on May 20, 2009


Ergo, "mated", which explains "routing" as well then.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:43 AM on May 20, 2009


Nope. Centi- means hundredth.

Dammit. What the hell are my Viking hordes (I hate it when people use hoards here) when we slaughter them down to the last man-jack? Fill in the blank: "We ____imated them!" Our proper Vikinging awaits your reply.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2009


One should use proper grammer when Viking. (I verbed)
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:28 AM on May 20, 2009


Nope. Centi- means hundredth

I love those crazy bugs that have one-one hundredth of a foot.
posted by GuyZero at 10:47 AM on May 20, 2009


Which is correct? A 4 centimeter centipede is about as long as:

a) a toothpick
b) a typical drag racing strip
posted by Pollomacho at 11:21 AM on May 20, 2009


Fill in the blank: "We ____imated them!" Our proper Vikinging awaits your reply.

The word a Viking would use is "buffaður" (plural: buffaðir), that is, to beat until the enemy resembles the consistency of hamburger.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:41 AM on May 20, 2009


Having in mind "buffaður" is an adjective, e.g., Jói lenti í vandræðum og var algjörlega buffaður.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:42 AM on May 20, 2009


But the verb is "að buffa", to pound into a hamburger consistency.

Also I think this is a relatively recent word so I don't think the Vikings would have used it. They would have been all poetic about it, like "Then did Egil crash down his sword onto the skull of Finnbogur" and such and such.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:03 PM on May 20, 2009


The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying:
Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be to buffaðurimate every motherfucking man-jack of them.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:23 PM on May 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Centipedes don't have any feet.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:26 PM on May 20, 2009


The fog comes
on little centipede feet.

It sits looking
over leaves and stems
silently munches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburgerlar.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:59 PM on May 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Irritaters.
posted by effluvia at 8:18 PM on May 20, 2009


We unimated them! (unanimated them?)

Canadian is my favorite genre of music.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:08 PM on May 20, 2009


Sorry, mbrubeck.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:47 PM on May 20, 2009


umami
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:34 AM on May 21, 2009


now go buy some soy sauce whydontcha
posted by mrmojoflying at 3:36 AM on May 21, 2009


That was Ed Schabanusky on claves.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2009


USian.

I just wrote that to piss people off.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:43 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


*shakes fist angrily*

I'll get you, fourcheesemac! I'll get you but good!
posted by Pronoiac at 1:31 PM on May 21, 2009


USian.

I just wrote that to piss people off.


Didn't work here -- I'm from Dumbfuckistan.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:53 PM on May 21, 2009


Devils Rancher, please. This isn't 2004. It's Jesusland now.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:57 PM on May 21, 2009


Devils Rancher, please. This isn't 2004. It's Jesusland now.

OH HAI, we're back in the union now! Gov Rick Perry LOLO!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:43 AM on May 22, 2009


« Older help me post comments   |   mathowie, mullacc, SassHat, and ColdChef is coming... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments