Talk Like A Human

Enough making up amusing rubbish about people for now.

Today, I’m going to talk about something that’s been driving me slowly up the wall for a while now. And in doing so, I may hurt the feelings of some of the people on my friends list.

Tough. If you can’t handle the notion that something you do may irritate me, you need to grow a thicker skin. God knows, I’m sure I piss enough of you off.

It’s this:


It’s not a word. It’s not an emotion. It’s not, as one person was unfortunate enough to suggest to me, a state of being. It’s a fucking sound effect. And a very bastard stupid one at that. It’s a syllable used by the sub-literate (or those who should know better) to convey a state of excitement. And frankly, it gets right up my nose. It’s the sort of faux-cutesy rubbish that makes me want to take a potato peeler to whoever is moronic enough to utter it in my presence.

You are thinking adults, or at least capable of impersonating one at a push. You should, if you’re on my friends list, be possessed of an at least adequate vocabulary. If you don’t think you have one, I can recommend a few “word of the day” lists that’ll help. But even if you were dropped on your head a lot as a child (and god knows, I was), you should be able to say “I am excited at this prospect.”

That’s all it takes. Six words. None of them more than eight letters. No difficult punctuation.

And if you’re feeling creative, then I don’t mind in the slightest if you improvise. You can even use metaphors, and I’ll even turn a blind eye to the bad ones. There’s a whole rich English language out there, full of verbs and nouns and adjectives, just made for expressing emotion. Saying “Squee!” instead of putting a bit of fucking effort in makes you look both lazy and stupid.

As for those of you I’ve caught attempting to turn this abortion of language from a stupid exclamation into a verb: don’t think I haven’t noticed. I will find out where you live, and will be bringing my vat of acid round shortly.

And, if I’m honest, it’s not just this word. It’s that this word is symptomatic of a whole style of expression that involves a lot of needless neologisms for faux-cutesy purposes. The usage “to fangirl” for example, is not on. I’m being bloody generous by allowing “fangirl” as a noun, but I’m prepared to admit that I’m a little linguistically conservative at times (and before anyone says it “fanboy” annoys me just as much). But “to fangirl” conveys nothing to me. If I stretch, it might mean “to run around in the overexcitied manner of a 13 year old girl on a sugar rush. The sort of 13 year old that wears too much pink.”

They’re all completely pointless. I can think of plenty of ways to say “I’m excited, and would like you to believe that I’m irritatingly cutesy, too.” without resorting to making up new words, or butchering old ones. You should be able to as well. I suspect the blame lies with people like Joss Whedon, for encouraging us all to think that we can add “-age” to the end of almost any word to make ourselves sound just slightly cooler, or go around verbing things at random, rather than stretching our brains to come up with the correct, pre-existing, verb. (Re-watch Buffy some time. Notice how much of the Clever Teenage Dialogue rests on these and a few other repeatedly-used tricks. Fine for a TV series. Not acceptable for actual people.)

Yes, I do feel better for having got that off my chest. Thanks for asking.

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