Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Language purists losing the battle?

Several recent items in ST caught my attention. This was one:

I have always understood "razed" to mean "completely destroyed or demolished". It is an absolute word that -- like "unique" and "pregnant" -- cannot be graded or qualified. So, from a purist's point of view, there is no such thing as "razed part of the...".

But am I being pedantic? There is this delightful 1994 language column by James Kilpatrick in which he says "partly razed" is acceptable:

Language purists may be fighting a losing battle, as this extract from a book by two linguists notes:

Linguistics for Everyone (Kristin Denham and Anne Lobeck)


I stay firm, however, on misuse of words like "condo" and "talents":

A condo is the entire condominium! Within the condo are condo units, as this ST headline on another day makes clear:

This headline below is wrong!...

Just because NAFA has incorrectly named one of its schools "School of Young Talents" does not mean ST has to blindly follow suit. Just think of the TV series "Britain's Got Talent":

To put it simply, a collective of talented people cannot be referred to as "talents". But an individual talented person may have many talents.

Finally, this item in today's ST (Nov 26) has just created a new class of warship -- the missile-guided frigate!...

If you think about it, it is absolutely ridiculous to have a frigate sailing the seas for weeks and being guided by a missile (which cannot stay aloft for long)! There are, however, guided-missile frigates, that is, frigates armed with guided missiles.

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