Pedants United

A section to discuss matters not related to Chess in particular.
Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:36 pm

Susie Dent has preached to us on many occasions that language changes and of course we accept that - sometimes there are improvements.

I find some errors entertaining, e.g. people using "prestigious" to mean "with prestige", when it actually means "tricky" as it comes from "prestidigitate".

I did complain to one senior manager at work when he had delivered a talk where we would have worn out half a dozen pens if we had been playing "buzzword bingo". I said, "This is an international company - it is really unfair on the people who have English as a second language for you to talk like that. Will any of them understand what you just said? Most of the English wouldn't have done either." He got a bit cross. He was talking about "functional silos" and "blue-sky thinking" and other tripe. In fairness, he probably didn't know what he was talking about either.

And another bugbear, someone attending a meeting is not an "attendee" - that would be the meeting room itself. If anything, the person would be an "attender".

Nick Ivell
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Nick Ivell » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:11 pm

I sense a bright future for this thread.

And who can say it's not more interesting than chess, when the only chess happening at the moment is skittles?

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:29 pm

I'm enthusiastic about operationalizing it end to end, but only if Kevin does the ideation and wireframes the strategic staircase

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:31 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:11 pm
I sense a bright future for this thread.

And who can say it's not more interesting than chess, when the only chess happening at the moment is skittles?
Well that isn't quite true tbh (though it still is at the very highest level)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Martin Benjamin
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Martin Benjamin » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:52 pm

It niggles me when people (especially in writing) use "prevaricate" as a synonym for "procrastinate". "Snuck" instead of "sneaked" has snuck/sneaked its way into everyday use, also to my annoyance.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:55 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:36 pm
Susie Dent has preached to us on many occasions that language changes and of course we accept that - sometimes there are improvements.

I find some errors entertaining, e.g. people using "prestigious" to mean "with prestige", when it actually means "tricky" as it comes from "prestidigitate"......

.....And another bugbear, someone attending a meeting is not an "attendee" - that would be the meeting room itself. If anything, the person would be an "attender".
I think you are straining the bounds of pedantry here, Kevin. My Chambers dictionary does include for 'prestigious' the definitions 'deceitful, juggling, using legerdemain', but followed by the telling bracket (obs.) for obsolete. However, in witty Chambers style, it does partly define 'prestige' as a name or reputation to conjure with, while admitting that its origin was a conjuring trick or illusion (obs.).

The same dictionary has nothing about 'attendee' being the meeting room. It has the same meeting as 'attender'.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:01 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:29 pm
I'm enthusiastic about operationalizing it end to end, but only if Kevin does the ideation and wireframes the strategic staircase
Nice bit of jargon, Paul. We've come a long way since a work meeting I attended about forty years ago. There were raised eyebrows and an intake of breath when a colleague said he was going to action something. Quite acceptable now, though I wouldn't use it myself.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pedants United

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:01 am

Well, as is well-noted in contemporary linguistics, implementing standardization is an arduous task which no one can oversee, hence the reason when I see references to Fowler -he who lies at the end of prescriptivism- it raises an eyebrow. The only point of mention from that lot, starting with Bishop Louth that is, they were so hard-line yet there is not one single point they never could agree on -not one!

David Williams
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Re: Pedants United

Post by David Williams » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:52 am

I'm not sure it's pedantry to be irritated by new expressions. The ones that get me are where people use words that actually mean something else.

If I hear that someone has refuted an allegation I expect to hear that he has disproved it, not that he simply denies it.

If an arbiter appears disinterested, I would have expected nothing less, but it is very likely the intention was to tell me he appeared uninterested.

And top of the list, if someone tells me he is good, I'm inclined to think that's a judgement that others should make, and irrelevant when I was asking about the state of his health.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:11 pm

David Williams wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:52 am
I'm not sure it's pedantry to be irritated by new expressions. The ones that get me are where people use words that actually mean something else.

If I hear that someone has refuted an allegation I expect to hear that he has disproved it, not that he simply denies it.

If an arbiter appears disinterested, I would have expected nothing less, but it is very likely the intention was to tell me he appeared uninterested.

And top of the list, if someone tells me he is good, I'm inclined to think that's a judgement that others should make, and irrelevant when I was asking about the state of his health.
Pedant/pedantic/pedantry are pejorative terms referring to the making of over-fine distinctions. My Chambers scathingly defines a pedant as an 'over-educated person who parades his or her knowledge'. I hope, therefore, that the title of this thread is seen as tongue-in-cheek, for none of us would want to be described thus. I certainly don't see myself as a smug know-all and would be delighted and amused if an error were discovered in my posts here.

I think chess players have a natural desire for accuracy and a sensitivity to blunders, so the forum is a convenient place to moan and discuss, without sneering at any individuals for whom the use of language matters not one jot. However, I think there are legitimate targets, particularly journalists for whom language is the soul of their profession.

So, David, one man's pedant is another man's fellow traveller in the nurture of linguistic clarity. I am fully in agreement with the three examples you gave. I can't pinpoint when 'I'm good, thanks' began. Although I wouldn't say it myself, I am happy to tolerate it and certainly wouldn't initiate an investigation into its precise meaning. (Had to be careful there - my predictive text phone came up with 'it's'!).

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MJMcCready
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Re: Pedants United

Post by MJMcCready » Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:58 pm

The bottom line is, to borrow one from David Crystal, 'language does not belong to anyone, it isn't owned'. Standardization has been in play for centuries but all that does is streamline the increase in vocabulary and alterations in grammar and syntax. American and British English are more different from each other than you might think, but who is to say we are more correct than the Americans?

Nick Grey
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Nick Grey » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:11 pm

I asked for a refund from WH Smith's for selling news papers without supplements. No chess, suduko, and other weekend pleasures.
Shafted for 7 Susie Dent.

Paul Habershon
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Re: Pedants United

Post by Paul Habershon » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:28 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:58 pm
The bottom line is, to borrow one from David Crystal, 'language does not belong to anyone, it isn't owned'. Standardization has been in play for centuries but all that does is streamline the increase in vocabulary and alterations in grammar and syntax. American and British English are more different from each other than you might think, but who is to say we are more correct than the Americans?
Standard American and British English are 'correct' in their own way. Most of us have probably seen simple comparative vocabulary lists - sidewalk/pavement, trunk/boot etc. - and the spelling differences - center/centre, labor/labour.

Personal preference prevails when it comes to certain expressions. 'Hospitalised' was frowned upon at one time here as an American import, but I rather liked its conciseness in place of 'was admitted to hospital'. Conversely I thought 'burglarised' was inferior to our 'burgled'.

I spent two terms at an American school in what would now be called my gap year. In English class the word 'fecund' came up and the teacher asked us its meaning. 'Fertile, sir,' say I. Blank look from teacher. 'Fertile, sir!' Penny drops. 'Ah, you mean FURTLE! We suffer from the lack of a common language.'

By the way, don't ask an American to knock you up in the morning. It suggests a rather intimate encounter.
Last edited by Paul Habershon on Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John Moore
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Moore » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:40 pm

My pet irritation is those (surprisingly many) who mix up discreet and discrete.

John Moore
Posts: 1988
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Re: Pedants United

Post by John Moore » Sat Sep 05, 2020 3:44 pm

In fact, it irritates me so much, I inadvertently posted the same message twice - now deleted.

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