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October 25, 2009

Communication, Some Do's & Don'ts

With so many new words on their way to the Memory Hole it can only mean the latest Newspeak dictionary has arrived. First for the fire is the expression "evenin' all". It would not do to confuse the stupid about the time of day.

Other words now discouraged include, "businessman", "housewives" and "child", which the organisations argue have negative connotations and could cause offence.

Confusingly, staff are also barred from using the word "homosexual", for which they are instructed to use the term "gay", while they are warned against using the phrase "straight", and told to say "heterosexual".

Update: It occurs to me I have not used the word "England" in this post. Might as well get some mileage out of the name while I can.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at October 25, 2009 07:04 AM


For the love of Samuel Johnson, I don't even know where to begin with this insanity. I suppose morning isn't on the list because it at least assuredly ends at noon. As for manning the phones, again, I'm as much a man as the next fellow.

Posted by: cm [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2009 10:01 AM

Yesterday I noticed my wife's cookbook has a recipe entitled "Gingerbread People".

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2009 03:22 PM

Surely you mean Ginger-Americans.

Or possibly Persons of Ginger.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 25, 2009 03:34 PM

In many cultures the term evening is linked to time of day when people have their main meal of the day. In some countries including the UK, the evening meal time is traditionally thought of as being around 5-7pm but this might be different say for a family say from America who might have their main meal earlier and thus for them 'evening ' may be an earlier time.

See, now here's where we discover that they're just making stuff up.

When traveling in Britain and Australia I've frequently stumbled over concepts and words that I thought were universal in English, only to find that they were characteristic of the US. Sometimes these misunderstandings were settled smoothly; sometimes the natives made me feel like an ass.

Still, though, one must get used to feeling like an ass when in a foreign country. It would have been nice if people would not get actively hostile when I misunderstood them (Australians were particularly bad about this, for some reason), but I certainly didn't expect them to rearrange their entire cultural-linguistic mindset to make me feel more at ease.

Posted by: Angie Schultz [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2009 02:08 AM