Friday, June 12, 2009

"Is, is," "Yeah, no," and "-ing."

Over the past several years, conversation in English has produced some totally illogical constructions that make me wonder how a person trying to learn the language will ever succeed.

For a while now, speakers have said, “The reason is, is …” or similar phraseology. How the extra “is” crept in, I will never know, but it can be heard even on public radio from the lips of highly compensated officials.

I did once encounter a person who expanded the meme to “The reason being, is because …” and that was a teacher, no less. But then again, she referred to her expensive watch as a “Rolodex.”

When I was a reporter in the great open pen that was the newsroom, I marveled at one reporter who when on the phone constantly used the “Yeah, no” locution while taking crime interviews. So was it “yes” or “no”? As the old song goes, “It’s got to be this or that.”

And then we have these new “ing” words, mostly about pandemics and such, which are described as “worrying” or “concerning.”

Didn’t it used to be “worrisome” and “of concern”? Maybe this came from the rash of films with gerunds, starting way back with “Raising Arizona.”

If anyone out there has insight into these changes, please comment.

--Bernice Paglia

6 Comments:

Blogger Jackie said...

It's probably just the evolution of the language. After all, both the spoken and written word have changed so much in just the past 100 years.

No, that doesn't stop me from physically cringing when I hear someone say, "I seen it." Even though you would think the Internet has gotten more people into reading and writing, it's a scary place. There's random capitalization (or none at all), phonetic spellings, shortcuts, little punctuation, etc. My pet peeve in regard to writing and the Internet are all the folks who use apostrophes on basic plurals. Do they think we have an endless stock of apostrophes? One of these days there will be a shortage and it's going to be the fault of Internet cretin's!
;-)

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raising Arizona - On tonight [on cable, which I do not have though, still messing with that converter box!]

GB

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work at a place where people talk about "outreaching" to various populations of people. They never "do outreach" nor do they "conduct outreach" or "initiate outreach" - they are simply out there, outreaching.

Oy!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

gone missing...went missing? Where did that word usage come from? Someone tried to explain it but it's still not working for me. Perhaps I am getting too old?

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Dottie Gutenkauf said...

How about "tasking" or "we were tasked" to do something or other? That irritates me about as much as the "is, is" stuff!

12:16 AM  
Blogger RASRAHMATAZ said...

I'm guilty of all of these and more...like conversating... state of pistivity, searchability, readability...lots of --abilities, fitting to,...morphemes, phonemes and graphemes ooh my! There's a wordologist in us all. Ain't there. LOL

10:51 AM  

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