Monday, 7 January 2008

Banished words, again

Many pundits and pedants enjoy listing the words they dislike, but Lake Superior State University surely deserves a special mention as they've been publishing their list every year since 1976. Back then they wanted to ban "meaningful", particularly "meaningful dialogue"and "meaningful input", which are just as meaningless today as they were more than thirty years ago.

I would happily support the banishment of some of the words and phrases on this year's list, such as "x is the new y" (for example, green is the new black), "surge" in relation to troop deployment rather than electricity supply, and "webinar" for a seminar delivered over the web. I'm not so sure about some of the others though. I am sometimes called a technical author, and I use some authoring tools particularly when I work on online help systems. Banning the verb "to author" might cause me a certain amount of difficulty (though admittedly, not very much). They would also outlaw "wordsmith", a rather whimsical and evocative description of some of the work I do.

I suppose I'll have to sit out a "perfect storm" of criticism now, which is what we have come to expect in this "post 9/11" world.