Monday, February 01, 2010

Will sensible language please stand up?

Being a writer, I can't stand it when people butcher language. Corporate-speak is especially irritating. And people who use language that's overly complicated when it really doesn't need to be, well, they grind my gears too.*

But just when you thought corporate-speak couldn't get any worse, I saw something new.

Now correct me if I'm wrong - "decision" is a noun, no?

This is what I read when filling out an application online: "Unfortunately, we could not decision your application online, and will be sending you a letter in the mail when we figure out what the fuck we want to do."

OK, I made that last part up. But not the part in bold.

What the fuck? Shall we take this offline? Think outside of the box? Fastrack that perhaps? Or gift it to another corporate-speak dictionary?

Granted, it was a corporate web site. So is it reasonable to expect proper language, say, on the side of a box of something we bought at the grocery store.

Oat milk = milk made from oats. Right?

"This blah blah blah product, made from oat groats..."

What the fuck are "oat groats"? Don't they sound like something you'd spit out after swallowing one by accident?

Mr. RK, who is trying out the oat milk, went online to find the answer.

An "oat groat" is an oat before it has been processed, shucked, etc. So it's just an...oat.

I suppose this bugs me because it takes something simple and tries to dress it up, but the end result is just ridiculous.

How about you? Read anything like that lately?

*Brownie points if you catch that cartoon reference.


Fireblossom said...

At this point in time, myself and my team would like to interface with you re: the obfuscation project. Unfortuneately myself and my team are experiencing a spontaneous cranial colonoscopy.

Translation: Now we could discuss doubletalk if only my head weren't up my ass.

PS--my scramble word is so scrambled, I can't decision wtf it says.

B said...

Sort of unrelated, isn't oat milk insanely good?! It's my new fave obsession of the last several months :)

Claire said...

It's Family Guy, right? I love that saying.


G said...

R.K., be glad you don't have to deal with the language called "state government". It would make what you just experienced seem almost normal.

However, since you're asking for what kind of gar-barge that I have read lately that gave me a WTF moment, how 'bout this:

Got an e-mail from a staff member who chose to write it as a text message, instead of using nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs.

Granted, usuing psuedo texting when you're conversating (sorry, had to throw that annoying word in..or maybe I'm not sorry) with a friend is fine. But if you're writing an e-mail to someone who handles your payroll, you should use the basic language skills that your mummy and daddy taught you while you were growing up to be a highly overpaid state worker drone.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm really not in a position to comment am I? I kinda use slang, all the time coz it's the way I write. "Correct" English tends to bore me too. I really do butcher the language, but I can't be accused of corporate-speak. That's my partner's area of expertise.

Lynn said...

I think that sounds like a place you wouldn't want to be associated with anyway. Yes - bad bad writing. I get all these marketing success emails and they are are not written well. I wonder what my motivation would be to join those groups.

Does oat milk taste like oats?

skyewriter said...

Welcome to the world of the college composition teacher... I have to devote a whole class on audience awareness so that students refrain from using text-keying in class assignments. Seriously. I see "lol" and "wtf" and "i" and the ubiquitous ":)" in student papers all the time. Kinda surprised I haven't seen "we needed to decision which kegger we were going to".

Hope you have a most excellent day!

Riot Kitty said...

These are great! Yes, it's Family Guy, and G - I feel your pain :)

I haven't tasted the oat milk yet.

Ily said...

As you know, I live in Miami and although I love Spanglish, it irritates me to see it used on business letters or documents.

Ex: "Voy a printear el documento," instead of "voy a imprimir el documento" or "en la hora de lonche" rather than "en la hora del almuerzo."

PS - Did you understand a word of that?? lol

Riot Kitty said...

ILy: Yes, I understood all of it!

K-Rod said...
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K-Rod said...
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Darrin.. said...

Hmmmm.... That Really Grinds my Gears... Family Guy? =^D

You know what really grinds MY gears? People totally butchering old sayings and misusing words!! I really need to carry a notepad with me to jot these down as I hear them. I swear I could write a book!

One of the worst I've heard.. someone talking about a petrol bomb called a "Matzel tav Cocktail"


Michelle Madison said...
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Riot Kitty said...

Yes! Family Guy! You should carry a notepad...and then blog about it :)

Anil P said...

I've seen my share as well, and believe me some of the corporate-speak I've encountered is atrocious.

Chances are the website copy was contracted to a copy writer, equally chances are some corporate language angel will have made the changes to read what they did.

K-Rod said...
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