Generally, I love words and the English language as a whole. It’s so strange and illogical but is also a wonderful, descriptive tool which you can use to express your thoughts, moods, feelings and, most succinctly, yourself perfectly. It does make me feel relieved that I’m a native English speaker, though. It must be an absolute nightmare to teach or learn English as a second language when there are sentences like “there’s no time like the present to present the present” and there’s just no logical way to explain why words are spelled the same and pronounced differently or even spelled and pronounced the same but mean different things! Just when you think you’ve got the language sussed, there’s always an exception to the rule. I’ve been speaking and writing English for most of my life (apart from that strange year in the nineties when I switched to Chinese of course) and I still make basic errors mainly because there’s so many oddities to remember and, in those instances, logic will hardly ever help.
It may seem a little odd, but there quite a few words and phrases which irritate me immensely. Maybe it’s not odd, perhaps most people feel this way about their own linguistic pet hates, but there are certain words which almost make me shudder. Snog, for example. It just seems to be one of the most unromantic ways of describing kissing which, to me, is a rather lovely thing. It brings to mind a couple of teenagers noisily eating each others’ faces with copious amounts of saliva and germs being heartily exchanged. I’m not too keen on shag or bonk either. Possibly because neither word sounds particularly fitting for the act itself – with the latter being the exception if you have an especially noisy headboard. Continuing with the sex theme, I’m constantly puzzled by the popularity of the rather bizarre word horny, although the equivalent when I was at school, randy, isn’t much better. Especially when your name is Andy.
I’ve come to really despise whatever, especially if it is deployed in a stroppy American voice and most definitely if said stroppy American voice belongs to an English person. An odd one here, I know, but I’m not over-keen on meal. Perhaps it’s the association with something being mealy – as in pale, or ill-looking. Either way, the word is nearly enough to put me off my meal. As is grub, which, to me, is a small insect and definitely not a way to describe appetising food.
There are other words which are fine if used in a certain way, but, when used in a different context, really annoy me. Like, for example, like. When I was, like, saying to him that he was, like, really annoying me and I was, like, whatever! It seems to have replaced you know, which was equally as tedious. Another word which makes my blood simmer gently is tune. Now, tune is a perfectly acceptable word. Instruments can be in tune, birdsong can be tuneful. However, if I hear someone refer to a great song as a “tune” or, especially the throwaway “good tune”, it makes me see crimson. The tune is the melody and there are so many other elements of a brilliant song.
I also don’t like text speak or the bastardization of the beautiful English language in any way. Internet acronyms are fine, such as “lol”, but if you actually say “lol” in real life as a response to something you find funny, you deserve to be enthusiastically and repeatedly slapped across the face with a large, wet fish. However, on the subject of “lol”, one thing that does irritate me significantly is when people want to accentuate how funny they find something and write “lololololol”. Which means you’re laughing out loud out loud out loud out loud out loud. Almost as ridiculous (but not quite) as “looooooooool”. Are you really laughing out out out out out out out out out out loud? No, of course you’re not. So stop it. Just stop it. OK?
I remember my Nanna objecting quite a lot when she heard my slightly older cousin say something was “dead good” back in the 1980s. Her point being that if something was dead, how could it be good? I now see her point completely as I wince every time a young person gleefully states that something they like is “sick“. Not only is it completely without any real meaning, it just doesn’t sound nice! It reminds me of another word of my childhood which has almost stood the test of time – “wicked”. Although I have to admit that it did seem strange hearing Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, describing the news of William and Kate’s engagement that way.
I could go on, but I won’t. I’ve probably, like, said enough today. Feel free to leave a comment or two on my ‘blog highlighting your least favourite words or phrases. Ironically, I’m not actually that keen on the word ‘blog. It actually sounds boring. I’d rather it be called something like Orgasmadiary. That’d get people reading… but also, ultimately, probably a little disappointed.