Archive for Linguistics

This Blog Is What It Is… A Living Breathing Document

Posted in Grind My Gears with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by Jordan

The amount of diverse people I interact with on a weekly basis is uncanny.  However, the more someone struggles the more they seem to appeal to me.  My favourite thing about ‘Struggles’ is that they always seem to have stupid clichés or words that they use on a daily basis.  Consequently, this blog is dedicated to ‘sayings’ or ‘words’ that grind my gears.

It doesn’t seem to matter what setting you are in, the saying “it is what it is” seems to come up everywhere!  I worked construction a few years back and our superintendent was obsessed with the saying.  For example, one time my coworker (brother D) and I where told to move a pipe to the dumpster that an excavator dug out of the ground.  The problem was the pipe weighed well over a thousand pounds and we had to carry it about 300 meters. Brother D was a fairly strong middle-aged guy and I am obviously no slouch (not that I’m bragging but it’s really not a big deal… I work out).  We made one feeble attempt to move the pipe knowing full well we had no chance.  We looked at our super and said, “There’s no way we are moving this.”  He looks at us and says, “Well… it is what it is.”  Then he walked away.  Brother D and I looked at each other wondering what the even meant.  I thought to myself, “of course I know what this is… it’s a thousand pound pipe that I have no chance of moving.”  Brother D and I moved on to a new task only to be chewed out 40 minutes later for not moving the pipe.  So, I guess “it is what it is” meant move the unmovable 1000 pound pipe!

In my current job, the saying “living breathing document” gets tossed around multiple times a day like it’s a bodily function and everyone ate beans for breakfast.  Why does a document have to be living and breathing why can’t it just be subject to future change?  It’s not like I can ask a document out on a date and smooch it in copy room.  All I can do with a “living breathing document” in the copy room is copy it and wait until future changes are made to it, take the revised copy back into the copy room and copy it again.

Ever since I moved to the East Coast the terms “everywheres” and “anywheres” are used as commonly as the word “the”.

Question – Where do you want to live?

Answer – Anywheres

Question – Where did you go last night?

Answer – Everywheres

Question – Explain what the dog did when you knocked on the door?

Answer – When I knocked on the door the dog started jumping everywheres and I was like WHOA I want to be anywheres but here!

The best part about the use of “everywheres” and “anywheres” is that it does not discriminate.  The smartest lawyers on the East Coast use it when arguing a case, teachers use it when teaching, and the greasiest son of a bitch you can image uses it the same way.  What makes it even better is that if you call people out on using “everywheres” and “anywheres” they will argue with you until they are blue in the face that it is a real word and that the context they use it in is more then justified.  I have news for you.  My computer looks like the chicken on Family Guy after a fight with Peter Griffen because it is so disgusted with the way I spelled “everywhere” and “anywhere”.  They are not real words!  Get over it and STOP USING THEM!

Oh My Land

Posted in Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by Jordan

Who decided swear words were bad?

Growing up I wouldn’t dare swear around my parents nor did I ever really hear swearing on T. V. or in any other aspect of my life.  However, as I get a little older and dictate my own rules I swear quite a bit and incorporate swearing in my daily conversations.  What I don’t get is why swearing offends anyone at all.

When you were a kid and someone called you a “doo doo head” or something stupid like that at school, a teacher would say, “sticks and stones cam break your bones but names will never hurt you.”  So if this is the case, why does a simple four-letter word get some people’s delicates in such a bunch?

I work with a church going women who wouldn’t say shit if her mouth was full of it.  She also wouldn’t swear if her life depended on it.  Me being the courteous young man I am, I watch my tongue as a means of not offending her.  However, this woman may not swear in the traditional sense but she has alternative words that she uses to swear on a daily basis.  For example, shit is replaced by stink, fuck is replaced by frick and oh my god is replaced by oh my land.

Why are these synonyms acceptable but the versions I want to use are not?  This woman’s alternatives annoy me because I know what she means and I am bothered that she just doesn’t say “SHIT” when she accidently deletes a file instead of “STINK”.  “STINK,” sounds stupid, it’s irritating and it bugs me.

The power and meaning of words in such trivial circumstances are way to overrated.  Four-letter words carry no hate towards distinct groups and are little more than words society has historically deemed as inappropriate.  The meaning of words has evolved since language was created ions ago.  I think it’s time society relaxes its stance on “four-letter” words and concerns itself with words that actually carry harmful and hurtful meaning.

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