Bad Language

Bad Language


Eiffel Tower

Modern English is interspersed with words from other languages, in fact English originated from various other tongues. As such there are many “foreign” words which we use every day and new words are added all the time. English is a living language. It evolves as we do.

The problem lies not with the usage of these other words but with the way people hear them being used and then try to use them in their own speech without knowing what they mean.

Some people are like parrots. They hear a word being used, think it sounds cool and off they go throwing the new word into their conversation willy-nilly. What’s worse is when they write it down not having any clue how it’s spelled. What’s worse than that is other people copying them and before you know it we have idiots butchering not only English but the other languages these words represent.

Since there are many French words in English – some of which are no longer used by the French – I’ll confine my post to the butchering of some of these words.

A common word we hear is ‘touché’. I knew someone who used to say touché at the end of random sentences, for no apparent reason. Maybe he thought it made him sound worldly? All it did was confuse his listeners. Some people believe it is a slang word – ‘tooshay’.

I’ve heard people refer to their bread sticks as ‘bag-you-ets’. It took me a while to realise they meant ‘baguette’. And many a time I’ve seen it spelled ‘baget’, so with that spelling shouldn’t it be pronounced ‘bagay’ as in ‘ballet’ and ‘tourniquet’. Unless, of course you’re American and pronounce the ‘t’ on the end – who knows why? Those same people also say ‘nitch’ instead of ‘neesh’ when using the word ‘niche’.

Most people know that ‘au revoir’ is goodbye in French and indeed when spoken the ‘re’ is hardly discernible but I have seen it written as ‘orvoir’ – again by an American. I’ve also heard it pronounced ‘or revor’. Please people, a little finesse.

Another one is ‘c’est la vie’. Usually pronounced correctly although often used incorrectly. It’s the spelling that trips people up. I have seen ‘sayla vee’ and my favourite ‘sailor v’, perhaps the friend of sailor x. Wouldn’t you think ‘sailor v’ was a rather strange thing to be putting into a sentence, especially when it had no nautical reference?

By far the most amusing butchering of a French word I have seen is ‘voila’. I don’t care to remember the times I’ve seen it written as ‘walla’. It seems to be all over the Internet, this strange ‘walla’ term. As in ‘walla! here it is’ or ‘I’ve finished it, walla’. I’ve spent too much time expressing my concern in the comments section of these badly written pieces.

There are many strange words in the English language. If you want to sound even half intelligent then take the time to learn the meaning and proper spelling of such words. A little research into their origins will ensure you’re using the term correctly and it can be fun and interesting. Call me a geek but whenever I read or hear an unfamiliar word I immediately look up the meaning and correct spelling.

Perhaps that’s why I’m writing this and not you 🙂


Keep the Faith

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