The Blog

On... Buzzspeak - Or Where Has All the English Gone


Now, with regard to the grammar and spell-checker controls on my computer's software, although I'm somewhat reticent to use them (what with being an arty-farty writer and all), I do feel a rosy glow that they're there - a friendly guide, drawing a comforting jagged, coloury line under my all too human screw-ups, making sure the few decent words I do spew out, go forth into the world in all their Sunday finery, saved any embarrassment that might find its way to yours truly (editors really are the stuff of genius).

However, useful as a spell-checker is, what I would really like to see is a special attachment to ... well everything - that, as soon as a someone says, thinks, or puts idea to paper which involves a word or phrase pretentiously not intended for the purpose, a loud buzzer sounds - Wahhahhh!! - or lightning flashes in the sky - maybe a bucket of green slop drops on their head, anything to ensure that the word - or phrase - is immediately withdrawn, and the individual is sent to the back of the class, with head hung low, and only permitted to return to the world of normal people when they have learned that, using inappropriate words doesn't make you sound in any way cooler, smarter, or all growed-up - quite the opposite in fact.

You know the words - the ones the door to door guy uses, or bank people trying to sell you that all too necessary teapot-handle insurance. It is a whole vocabulary, created by, and once limited to, those trades attempting to flog you something you neither need nor want. But, like all infections, has leaked into the real world, contaminating good, simple English, until one day it will hook-up in with uppercase and comma devoid 'Textspeak' (or 'txtspk' to her friends), in some seedy nightclub called 'Ninja-Bling-Gurus', and together they will propagate - OMG - a whole noisy rabble of blindingly sparkly, so, like, bad-mannered new words, complete with bleached teeth and orange faces, and nobody will be able to understand anybody ever again. LOL.

Note the carefully placed full-stop at the end of the 'LOL' ... I shall defend to the last.

Anyhow, words in common Buzzspeak you need to watch out for are:

'Buzzspeak' - by its mere definition says it all about the whole system, science, pseudoscience, hokum, whatever you want to call it.

'Action' - apparently we don't do things any more, we 'action' them.

'Engage' - a close, spotty-faced cousin to 'action', we 'engage' with people rather than talk to and communicate with them.

'Synergestic' - I still like just getting on with each other.

'Accessibilty' - where you put your shop, office, or website - and sometimes where you put stuff in said shop, office, or website.

'P.O.S.' or 'Point of Sale' - used to be called a poster.

'Bespoke' - otherwise known as the personal touch, and the latest, most irritatingly rife piece of word drivel, second only to the all time vacuous ...


Everything seems to be a 'solution'. I've seen companies include in their title:

'Food Solutions' - 'Printing Solutions' - 'Paper Solutions' - I saw a truck filled with dirt - just dirt - saying 'Soil Solutions' - I even saw a logo with the addendum, 'For all your Solutions Needs'.

... And it doesn't stop with the favourites; whole phrases have fallen foul of this epidemic. Two I've read recently are:

In a newspaper, a vacancy for a Sales Executive required someone who, apart from requiring all the usual 'skillsets' - also needed the 'ability to deconstruct industries at a granular level' - what does that even mean?

... And a company who provide software say they can, 'deploy a technology additive' - ah, now, come on lads, that's stretching it.

Anyway - I might sound like I'm banging a drum a bit on this - and, in some ways, maybe I am. It's just that I like my English simple, with words that mean something, and to everyone.

So, with that note, I have to get back to my computer and put down some quantifiable word additions to my next MMS ... oops.

My movie of the month:

Fright Night - the remake - as flippant as the original and ... ah, how refreshing to see a vampire without an identity issue. The good, old, vicious kind, who drinks your blood and wants to see everyone as dead as them. Not Oscar material, but good solid entertainment nonetheless.

My album of the month:

High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher. I haven't bought my own copy yet, but what I have heard is terrific stuff. Noel Gallagher claimed he was constrained by being in a band, and his step out solo sees his talent and rebellion come forth with ripping guitar work, interwoven with well composed melodies. I expect he will wow us all in the years to come.

My book of the month:

King Rat - China Miéville. Sorry, yet another by China Miéville - but I just really like his work. This was his first novel and what a splash. If you like your fantasy urban and dark - especially Londony - give King Rat a lookie-see.

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