I’ve decided to take a vow.
Never again will these words pass through my lips:
1) Sproingy: Come on. This isn’t a real word! It’s an irritating pseudo-word concocted by knitters, crocheters and the like to describe yarn and related fibery fabrics. I like to believe that, if we try really hard, we can come up with descriptive words without resorting to inventing them.
2) Squooshy: Ditto. Squishy is OK. Squooshy is not.
3) Knitterly: As in “I just love knitterly details…” Blech. Again, not a real word. Though by now OED has probably been bullied into considering it for their next edition.
4) Touch base: Used ALL THE TIME here in D.C. “We need to touch base about that project before the weekend.” “Hi! It’s meeeee. Just calling to touch base since we haven’t seen each other in, like, ages.” Ugh. Puhleeze give it a rest, K-Streeters and non-profiteers.
And, oh, there are so many more.
Maybe I’m just being grumpy. Maybe I’m tired. Or maybe I’ve been a writer and editor (and devotee of several languages, though not fluently) long enough to have developed a set-in-stone opinion about how our vocabulary changes.
I’ll freely admit to being one of the geeky grammar people like the editors of the Chicago Manual of Style, whose latest edition was delayed by a weeks-long argument about em dashes versus en dashes. Hmmm…I’d have enjoyed being in on that debate.
Sometimes I’m OK with it. For example, “Web site” is almost always “website” now, and “e-mail” is becoming “email.” Are these gramatically correct? Nope. But I can live with them.
Other times I am not OK with new words and jargon. I believe they’re a direct result of our culture’s tremendous decrease in reading. It makes sense: Read more books, learn more words. Then you’ll always have a descriptive term up your sleeve and won’t need to make up dumb words like “sproingy.”
OR…When in Rome…
Maybe it would be fun to start making up the most dimwitted fake words in the world and insidiously spreading them amongst the non-reading masses via the good ole “Internets”
Anyone with me?