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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Word shift is inevitable. Word theft -- especially by publishers -- should be stopped.


  • "Don we now our gay apparel" gets a different reaction now than when the lyric was first sung.
  • "Hooking up" doesn't have the same meaning that it did back in the 20th century.
  • "Literally" is sometimes used to mean "figuratively."
  • In England, a "fag" is a cigarette, and something can be "bloody" without bleeding.
  • A comedian can "kill" an audience, but cause no deaths.
  • People seldom notice or complain about the contradiction in "guest host," or if a TV newsguy signs off with "I'll see you tomorrow."
  • "Son of a bitch" was once a nice alternative to calling someone a "dog."
  • "Was like" has come to mean "said."
  • "Hell" probably can't be raised.
  • "Bad" can be good.
  • "Fuck" has dozens of meanings.
  • We often park in the driveway and drive on the parkway.
  • Some people say "eggcorn" instead of "acorn."
  • They also type "would of" instead of "would have."
  • An "eggcream" has neither egg nor cream in it.
  • "Oh snap" has replaced "oh shit."
  • "Spot on" has crossed the big pond and is replacing "correct."
  • My dog doesn't object if I call a "cracker" or "dog biscuit" a "cookie," or if I say "get in the car" when I mean "get in the minivan" or "get in the "truck."
  • Media often say that a writer "published" a book, even though the writer was not the publisher.
  • Some people say "Old Timers' Disease" instead of "Alsheimer's Disease."
  • "An apron" was originally "a napron."
  • Back in the 1960s, "The Boys' Clubs" were cometimes confused with the "W.E.B. DuBois Clubs"  -- a youth organization sponsored by the Communist Party in the USA.
  • "Woulda," "coulda," "shoulda" and "gunna" are widely used.
  • A "cry baby" can be an adult. Even a Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • "You guys" can include females.
  • "Alumnae" is often pronounced like "alumni."
  • "Flammable" and "inflammable" can be synonyms or antonyms.
  • An iPad is both "hot" and "cool."
  • A "mouse" is not necessarily a small rodent.
  • And the "notebook" used with that "mouse" does not have paper pages.
These shifts naturally occur. There are shifts in usage and meanings, as well as misunderstandings and even mistranslations.

It's much worse when a person, organization or business deliberately chooses to misuse a word to misdirect, misinform and confuse -- and profit from the deception.

It is especially sad that two of the worst examples of word theft are in the publishing business.

Author Solutions, Inc. claims to be "the world leader in indie book publishing—the fastest-growing segment of publishing."
  • A writer who pays ASI to publish books is NOT indie, but is merely a customer of a huge company.
PublishAmerica says, “In the most commonly used context, POD indicates Publish On Demand.”
  • That's a lie. The "P" in "POD" stands for "print," not "publish." Books can be printed on demand, but they can’t be published on demand.

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