Sunday, February 22, 2009

Verbal ticks and other piss-me-offs!!

I have noticed lately that people are more and more writing their verbal ticks into their correspondence and blogs. While I understand a "character" writer using this technique to show the personality of the character, when you are writing as yourself and everyone already knows your character and you're trying to at least seem intelligent, why? Words like "gah" and "meh" and even "like" and "ya know" are becoming more prominent in the written language, and they are a pain in the eyes. They drive me nuts as much as other grammatical bad habits. I can understand certain regional things, but a verbal tick is just insane to accentuate in your writing.

Verbal ticks were recently brought into the mainstream consciousness by no less than the Daughter of Camelot, Caroline Kennedy. In her failed bid to be appointed to Hillary Clinton's vacant senate seat, she was interviewed for a broadcast news show and her verbal ticks became the fodder of the critics for weeks. So much so that it actually made her rethink her wishes to get into politics. She is smart and well written, but when she speaks she has her crutches. Nobody who has read the things that she writes would have expected that in a one-on-one unscripted interview she would come across sounding like an ill prepared teenager, " like... ya know?"

Another Piss-me-off lately that I have been noticing more and more is people saying, "All the sudden..." Where did they learn English? The phrase is, "All of a sudden..." , or "suddenly" I have no idea where or when people began saying, "the sudden", but I remember taking note of it sometime in the last year, because I thought it sounded odd. Then I heard it a few more times and I began to pay attention to it, and I find it more and more in common usage. It sounds like someone who never understood song lyrics, trying to repeat what they have heard. It's a "bad moon on the rise.", not a "bathroom on the right." and Jimmy says, "Excuse me while I kiss the sky!", not "Scuse me while I kiss this guy!"

A few weeks ago I brought up the use of the article "an" in front of the word "historic", and I have figured out the reason for this. Grammar gurus like to remind people that the correct usage is to use "a" in front of a consonant, and "an" in front of a vowel, but when the consonant is silent such as is the usual usage for words like "herbs" and "homage" the usage should be the same as the vowel lead. Historic is a HARD "h" sound!! written or spoken in should be "A historic..." , however the "a" sound should be the long sound as in "pain", rather than the short "a" sound as in "sofa".

Freaking Geniuses!! Good thing there is a freedom of speech.

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