Thursday, April 29, 2010

(insert incoherent grumbling noises here)

Dear Editor,
I have more linguistic points of contention to bemoan; in this missive I will only perturb your restful contemplation of other things with one category:
Excessively derived redundant words
Why oh why oh why?
  • Orient (n) --- the East; derives Orient (v) --- Acquaint with or inform of East; derives Orientation (n) --- how an object with shape occupies space (so far so good, all new ideas); aparently derives "orientATE" --- See Orient (v).
  • Demolish; Demolition; DemolishionING?
  • Ironical, adj. : a shortening of "ironically", the adverb derived from "ironic", the adjective derived from "irony". I've only ever seen it used meaning "ironic".
  • Thusly: a demonstrative adverb meaning precisely the same as the demonstrative adverb "thus".
Note I have deliberately omited, e.g., "typical" --- here the order of derivation is "type, typical, typically" --- no redundancy, no ugly obscurity. On the other hand, if "ironical" were used as meaning "pointing to/indicating irony" instead of "marked by/notable for irony", then I'd concede it wasn't an offensively redundant word.
And it's not the redundancy alone I object to; it's the obsessive elaboration of known words in such a way as to say less instead of more. These are constructions that make our speach uglier by way of obscuring a clearer way to say exactly the same thing, while tying up constructs that could have been used for other, newer things!

the impatient reader


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