Time and banned words

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Jan 18 18:51:13 UTC 2010

I don't think the publications are laughing at all. They just see it as a
cheap way to fill space with a story that requires no effort or actual
reporting. It's not just linguistics, every Christmas you get the obligatory
story about how NORAD is tracking Santa's progress across North America, and
every vernal equinox you get the story about how you can stand an egg on its

In the long run, these stories are damaging to the publications. The
motivation behind them--cheap stories that have no real value--are one of
the reasons subscriptions are in the dumpster. God forbid someone should go
out and report on a real news story that might actually boost the
publication's credibility and attract a loyal readership.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Jonathan Lighter
Sent: Monday, January 18, 2010 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: Time and banned words

These annual lists are hardly more than publicity stunts.  Some of the words
are moderately obnxious because they're overused unnecessarily to the point
of cliche'.  Those who use them, apparently, think they're being clever, but
we know better.

Others, like "Tweet," are nearly indispensible, just new and popular.

"Czar" has been around for decades (headline writers love it).  Why should
it be "banned" now?

All very foolish, and I think that more of the publications reprinting the
list are laughing at it than with it.


On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 9:37 AM, David Barnhart
<dbarnhart at highlands.com>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       David Barnhart <dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
> Subject:      Time and banned words
> The Jan. 18th issue of Time magazine has a column under the "Short List"
> (p.
> 67) entitled "Say No More: 2010's Banned Words."
> I'm sure most of us who watch language day-to-day shudder at the audacity
> of
> some in academia to suppose they can prompt people to forgo the use of
> terms as:
> _shovel-ready_
> _transparent/transparency_
> _Czar_
> _Tweet_, the verb
> _app_
> _stimulus_
> And _Obama_-.
> The only thing that can be said for this list (year-to-year) is that some
> people are paying attention to what and how they're speaking.
> Prescriptivity is such a fruitless undertaking except for momentary
> amusement.  Are the practitioners of such prescriptive activity infringing
> on the right of free speech?  Perhaps somebody ought to sue them.
> Barnhart at highlands.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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