Sunday, November 14, 2010

Save The Words!

As if to prove that the folks at the cynicocratical Café Pyala are also perfectly capable of jumping up and down and screaming Like, OMG! Like, how exciting!, the discovery of the day award goes to Save the Words, a site devoted to the preservation of some of English’s most eccentric children. Its raison d’être is summarized thus:





"Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the English Language.

Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.

Today, 90% of everything we write is communicated by only 7000 words.

You can change all that. Help save the words!

If not for yourself, then for generations yet to come. Now, you may ask, “What have future generations done for us lately?”

Well, not much. But one day they’ll be grateful. You never know, one day they might even have a word or two to say about you.

Help spread the word."



Some of you writers/reporters/journalists out there might wonder whether embracing flosculations will go down well with your inveteratist editors. Will it viliorate your reputation? Gumfiate your paycheck? Make a vicious blogger jump on your article and accuse you of pretentiousness? And isn’t it just wiser to call ‘ someone who eats babies’ a ‘monster’ rather than a ‘brephophagist’?

Personally, I think indulging in this kind of locupletative exercise has to be its own brabeum. But if that doesn’t convince you, here are some other reasons savethewords.org thinks you might enjoy mixing it up a little:



"In bored-room meetings, you’ll typically use expressions like: “think laterally”, “reach projected targets” and “cost-cutting measures.” How about in your next meeting, make things a little more interesting by dropping in some rarer words: “think outside the nidifice.”

“It’s not you, it’s me.” “It was really hard to write this letter.” “We’re not right for each other.” Cliché. Cliché. Cliché. How about giving them something else to think about by using phrases like “I amorevolous you but I’m not in amorevolous with you.” 

Dazzle your friends! Create endless arguments and debates! Confuse the hell out of everyone! Now it’s simple when you start using words like Pudify, Stagma and Volgivagant. You’re the winner at the table, and you know it.

[Sky-writing] If you saw the word ‘Sigilism’ painted across the skies for all to see, what would you think? The pilot is incredibly intelligent? The pilot can’t spell? The pilot is drunk?

[With respect to tattoos] I love Mum. Done. Anchor. Done. Celtic symbols. Done. Sanksrit. Done. Snake. Done. Koi. Done. Angry dragon. Done. Girlfriend’s name. Done. Bar code. Done. Tremefy. Never done!

You’re not in a relationship if you don’t have a moniker. Usually they’re little romantic-in-jokes that no one else will understand (or want to). But imagine coming home from work one day and saying “Mulcible, I’m home”. Imagine."



On the flip side, language is a double-edged sword. Wield it with skill and it can vanquish your enemies, cook your dinner and organize your Sci-Fi action figure collection in alphabetical order. Wield it ineptly and you can put your own eye out, as well as any other eyes that happen to fall across it. This happens quite frequently in the pages of Pakistani publications. Sometimes words or phrases are not just used misused, they are raped, beaten and left for dead in dark alleys. Here is a selection of a few we at Café Pyala have come across during our weary trudge through miles of newsprint:


Trawlers
. As in ‘Trawlers block road as area cordoned off.’ A trawler is not a container. A trawler is a big fishing boat. As if it isn’t bad enough that random interest groups are commandeering our public spaces, we must also then spend the whole day with the image of giant fishing boats squatting on our street corners.

Slam. Slams. Slammed
. As in ‘MQM slams government’s imposition of new sales tax’ or ‘Musharraf’s comments slammed by PML-N.’ How is there going to be peace and quiet in the world if everybody is always slamming things?

Flay. As in ‘Khabardrama’s statement flayed.’ So after the slamming comes the lashing then the…gnashing? Was it flashing that led to the lashing?

Eve-teasing. That is SOOO 4004 BC.

Liberal mindset
. Eh what?

Liberal extremist
. See above.

Healthy instead of fat

Smart
instead of slim.

Backside
. As in the backside of the store.

Bread-earners
instead of bread-winners.

Supermodel. Every model is apparently one. How super!

Apprehended / nabbed for caught or arrested or held.

Cost when they mean price.

Purchase instead of buy.

Heinous as in criminal.

Nefarious instead of notorious.

Loose. As in a woman.

For some time
. As in ‘The PM and Pres had a one-on-one meeting for some time’.

Common man. As opposed to?

Powers-that-be
. Nobody knows what exactly they be (trippin’, perhaps?), they just be. Like Hamlet, only without the panty drop-inducing soliloquy.

Well-rounded
. As in individual(s).

Civil society
to refer to NGO activists.

Religious leaders
for politicians with beards.

Paramour
. As in a woman and her paramour were killed in a case of karo kari. Their sons Boromir and Faramir went on to star in a Peter Jackson film.

Urchins
. For kids. Silver lining? At least they’re not saying cherubim.


Please do bring any others you can think of to our attention in the comments section. We are thinking about compiling a list and floating our own website www.euthanisethewords.com.pk, a sort of hospice for terminally ill expressions, where words that should never be used again in a Pakistani paper can go to die.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

i know this has become a cliche but MSS will you marry me?

drowning-man said...

Can we reader float a petition, demanding MSS to write every single post on CP ?

drowning-man said...

Oops, readers, i meant.

Anonymous said...

thanx 4 such a gr8 post. hope those suffering from ISI phobia 'll not find any conspiracy in dis post!

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve: the word 'women' used without an apostrophe when it's needed: for example, women rights and women centre. In Pakistan, there is even a bank dedicated to a common proof-reading mistake --- the First Women Bank. Aaaargh!

TLW said...

Strategic Depth!

euthanisethewords.com.pk It!

karachikhatmal said...

MSS FTW!

here's a few more.

'miscreants': the word refers to heretics, not terrorists like its used

'one must say' (or any sentence starting with one)

Shahid said...

Awesome post.

More words/phrases :-

Some people are saying:- for what the journalist himself thinks (normally used by the likes of Ansar Abbasi)

so-called : used for showing disgust

double standards : read above

foreign hand : an alien

amazingly : why is this word allowed in newsreports?

blackwater/dynacorp : read taliban

Push Vs Pull said...

Innovative thoughts thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

militant. the word has to go.

koi1 said...

free will couple - those who think that who they choose to marry is their own decision

Anonymous said...

As such- pronounced S H

Anonymous said...

i wanted to ask something for which i think this is the right place..
isnt "Go bush go" "Go zardari go" and other "go --- go" supposed to show support, like in a race?? but it is used as a slogan to tell the person to eff off!
is the usage right? anyone can answer.

sammii said...

"lash" as in "rain lashes lahore" - in our newspapers it never rains or drizzles but something watery lashes our cities

Anonymous said...

nice write-up but i dont think it is favorable enough to use strange words that people are not used to, because the mere meaning of language is a medium of exchange of your thoughts, emotions and expressions and if we fail to communicate what exactly we want to see, the whole purpose of language is gone.
yes it's better when you want to impress your boss or someone who already knows what you are talking about but talking to strangers to such words may even make you alien to them, leave alone impress them

Rizwan said...

Thank you for pointing out what I have always felt about the English language dailies in Pakistan, the quality of grammar is undeniably poor. The same old words rehashed everyday. As far as the content and flow of an article goes, that is almost non-existent, especially with investigative journalism. Poor show all around.

Anonymous said...

"this scribe" always makes me want to take that pencil and shove it...

Anonymous said...

@ TLW What do you mean by "Strategic Depth!"??

By the way i read your blog: The Abbas brothers: A depressing tale.

But in the comments section the video links are shocking!

http://criticalppp.com/archives/29259

TLW said...

@ Anon 1:15

I mean that Strategic Depth has been a BS idea/phrase used by our brasshats to justify wooing crazy fundoes who are currently biting us back.

And glad you read my Abbas Brothers article; it was something Cafe Pyala got bothered about a lot. I wanted to tackle it *without* going into conspiracy theories. Wonder what you and the Pyala people thought of it.

Oh. and my latest addition to euthanisetheword.com.pk:

The Youth.

Kill it with fire.

Nabiha Meher said...

How about "lady" doctor or lady anything really!

And I used to work at a bank once. A lot of men used to run around looking for their "purses." WHY do our men call their wallets purses?

Anonymous said...

I became aware of this website for the first time due to the reference to your blog in Guardian. Since then I have spent hours here and i LOVE it. I have rarely laughed so loudly.

Anyway, a couple of words/phrases I would like to add to tis list are:
- allegedly
- RAW/CIA/Mossad.

BTW I am an Indian and our English media also talks in a similar pretentious fashion. Also like the Pakistani media which calls itself free but is clearly the voice of the establishment, Indian media also calls itself free but is the voice of some corporates.

Finally I wish your blog great success. It is an example of truly independent media. Hopefuly it can reach the type of popularity that Huffingtom Post does.