Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1677 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] English locution correction (was Re: Clinging to Microsoft (was Re: Why openSUSE is less popular than Ubuntu?)
On Tuesday, December 20, 2011 06:46 PM John Andersen wrote:
On 12/20/2011 3:28 PM, Dennis Gallien wrote:
The imaginative element is in the spontaneous invention of the word. The
entertaining element is in how it makes my English-teacher spouse climb
the wall.

Well it shouldn't.
Spontaneous invention of words made of other words and word parts is a
hallmark of English (and German, so I'm told), and has been around
forever.

Just as the phrase "Verbing weirds the language." makes perfect sense,
adding a prefix (or two) and a suffix (or three) to build a new word is
well within the "rules" of English, and is just part of English's eclectic
nature.

Unlike French, there is no official list of approved words, and even
dictionaries are merely evolving documents of points in time.

Which is why the obsession over the current use of "begging the question"
is largely pedantry run amok. Usage changes over time.

More so in English, perhaps, but not exclusively. To date, this has
not presented any significant problem for English as a language, and it is
not likely to present any problem as long as English is in use. Should it
fall into disuse, linguists studying its entombed remains might be confused
for all of half a day, but even this is not unusual in the study of ancient
texts.

The entire issue revolves around a largely archaic use of the word "beg",
which is used almost NOWHERE in English today or for the past hundred
years other than in this SINGLE phrase "beg the question".

Thank you. I will forward your reply forthwith to the English-teacher (and
editor, btw) in residence. Yours is the most articulate rebuttal I have seen
except for my own which in passing seriousness I must say is strikingly
similar. However, due to reasons which should be supremely obvious (sleeping
within inches of the prof, making me not only vulnerable to the proverbial
back-of-the-hand but much more importantly, to deprivation of, er, spousal
nourishment), I have taken the coward's way out and only practice my gift in
the presence of witnesses whom I could compel to testify in the later spousal-
abuse divorce proceeding.

The only thing missing from this whole dialog is Dirk, who played the chicken-
little role of proclaiming that the "horrible locution" epidemic spreading
through the U.S. must not make its way to defenseless non-native English
speakers. Dirk, oh Dirk, where art thou? We have a petard upon which we
would like to hoist you. (And don't try to get around that because "petard"
is French; we have Hamlet in mind so it is quite appropo.)
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