Thursday, May 10, 2007

Does nouning bad language?

Look, I love all language change equally. That's a principle. But, man, sometimes it's hard. If you have a Northwest Airlines frequent flier account, you probably got the glossy mailing about bonus miles for eating out:
Today's dine.
Tomorrow's travel.
That zero-derivation from to dine sounded a little forced to me, like an ad writer trying too hard to be pithy or something, but it's the inside that got me:
Then dine out by 6/30/07 and earn 250 Bonus Miles on every qualified dine of $25 or more.
That's just outright impossible for me. Maybe this is restaurant-reviewer language or something?

The bigger issue is aesthetic reactions to language change. I think we all have them, sometimes reaching the level of established pet peeves. Indeed, English Jack has just posted on a similar topic, here.

Update, Friday 2:00 pm: Jan Freeman has a distantly related piece on airline language, here.

Image from here. It's Paul Signac's "Dining Room".


Anonymous said...

So this is sort of off-topic but I wanted to post it. Here's a sentence from a Dell webpage:
"Here's a vlog from Judy Chavis, a Director in Dell's Product Group for more about this development." Vlog? This is being used as a noun, but will we also soon see people vlogging? (maybe this already exists, but I have never heard of it). That has to be one of the coolest words I've learned recently. Just looks so Dutch!

Quote from here:

Mr. Verb said...

Oh, yeah, that one's used as a verb already. The word itself was written about recently as an example of overcoming a phonotactic gap in English. We've long had some proper names starting with vl- (Vlach, Vladimir, Vladivostok), but no common nouns, it seems. That discussion was in G. Iverson & J. Salmons' 2005 paper in the Journal of English Linguistics, called "Filling the Gap: English tense vowel plus final /ลก/". That journal is available online through a lot of university libraries, I think.