[Air-l] Poll on annoying Internet neologisms

Alexis Turner subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
Mon Jul 2 13:42:25 PDT 2007

On Alex's point, I thought that in French "cul" is pronounced "cu" and it had a 
different meaning than the English-derived form of the word, which makes me 
doubt a French speaker would confuse the two.  But given that the whole of my 
French comprises the words merde and cocinelle, I could be entirely wrong here.

Really, my cute little anecdote is not to say that French is not prescribed, but 
simply that language evolves, prescribed or no.  I would agree with Conor's 
assessment in that respect.

In a (probably) vain attempt to bring this back to the original discussion, 
since the "poll" that started the discussion was supposedly in English and 
concerning English language neologisms, I think that Derek's statements 
concerning natural language progression (specifically, the sentiment that 
people will say things as they please and we should probably accept that as a 
fact of life...or at least a fact of English) are valid to the original 
discussion...even if the observations cannot apply equally to all languages.  
That said, almost all language have neologisms, as far as neo means new and 
logism means word.  It is the speed and means of uptake that vary culturally.

On Mon, 2 Jul 2007, Alex Halavais wrote:

::I ran into the issues of borrowed words while living in Japan; and
::beyond that, many Japanese kids were shocked to find we have 7-11s and
::KFCs in the States. I suspect, however, that in noted case, the word
::(cul) is hardly a new one to French ears?
::- Alex
::On 7/2/07, Conor Schaefer <conor.schaefer at gmail.com> wrote:
::> This made me grin. I'd just like to point out the obvious here and say
::> that natural languages are often prescribed, too, given the power
::> relationships around education capital (newspapers, textbooks,
::> dictionaries, etc.).
::> My knowledge of how the French prescription system works is even less
::> than my knowledge of the language itself, but isn't it entirely possible
::> that the it is the prescription paradigm more than the natural evolution
::> of the language which led the youths in your anecdote to believe "cool"
::> was a French word? They were accustomed to the fact that spoken words
::> are canonical and thus "owned" by their culture heritage in some way. I
::> think that speakers of a natural language (who are cognizant of the fact
::> that the language is natural and evolves) would be used to fact that
::> words are "borrowed" and thus foreign, yet appropriated and utilized.
::> Don't you think?
::> -Conor
::> Alexis Turner wrote:
::> > Even prescribed languages evolve.  I am reminded of a friend who was
::> recently in
::> > France and was being given a hard time because he knew no French and was
::> trying
::> > to get the locals to speak to him in English - unfortunately, he had just
::> made
::> > the mistake of using the word "cool" to describe something, and the youths
::> he
::> > was interacting with were under the impression that "cool" was a French
::> > word...hence, my friend was lying and must actually know French.
::> > -Alexis
::> >
::> >
::> > On Thu, 28 Jun 2007, Peter Timusk wrote:
::> >
::> > ::Forgive me if I am wrong but French is a prescribed language.
::> > ::
::> > ::
::> > ::
::> > ::Peter Timusk,
::> > ::
::> > ::On 28-Jun-07, at 5:22 PM, Derek McMillan wrote:
::> > ::
::> > ::> Actually I think calling a URL "earl" is rather endearing.
::> > ::>
::> > ::> None of the top "annoying" neologisms annoy me however. It's a free
::> > ::> country, people will develop the language the way they find most
::> > ::> convenient and we can't lay down what words will or will not become
::> > ::> current. Tell pupils a particular turn of phrase particularly
::> > ::> annoys you
::> > ::> and you are asking to hear it at every turn.
::> > ::>
::> > ::> McDonalds know this to their cost. They have tried to have the term
::> > ::> McJob (a low-paid non-union job) removed from the Oxford English
::> > ::> Dictionary (and forced their employees to circulate petitions). They
::> > ::> only attracted adverse publicity and ridicule for their pains.
::> > ::>
::> > ::>

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