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Posts Tagged ‘Our’

OUR CHANGING VERNACULAR

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 24, 2009

I’m told that English is the hardest language to learn, probably because of the idioms and slang we use. I don’t know which is worse, “American-ese” or our counterparts in the UK. Nonetheless I find it interesting how our language changes over time. Back in the 1930’s and 40’s, people were “swell” and “gay” meant to be lighthearted. In the 1960’s and 70’s, everything was “Super,” “Far out,” and “Hip,” but we don’t use these words anymore, nor do we use words like “Hi-fi,” “Stereo,” “Ethyl,” “Hi-Test,” “keypunch,” or “CRT.”

In the last ten years alone I’ve noticed changes in our vernacular. The following is a list of words and expressions that are currently a natural part of our vocabulary, yet weren’t used just ten years ago (the 1990’s): Hydrate, Hybrid, Green, Blog, WiFi, Multitasking, same-sex, “creative class,” chipotle, and pandemic (as an aside, I find it amusing this last word only applies to the mainstream vocabulary of the 21st century; I guess it wasn’t applicable for the Black Plague of the 14th – 18th centuries). These words were certainly in the dictionary before, but they weren’t a part of our speech patterns as they are today.

True, a lot of these words are driven by marketing and the media, but it is ultimately derived from our changing technology, diet, and moral values. In a way, a changing vernacular is indicative of our changing social priorities and attitudes. As a small example, how we communicate in the office today is substantially different than the 1950’s, thanks in large part to being “politically correct.” At the time, there was little sensitivity to racial or gender equality. Right or wrong, offices were masculine dominated and, as such, there was little concern for offending anyone in our language.

It also seems our youth are relying more and more on monosyllables words and are less inclined to engage in honest debate. When they argue, it is typically on the Internet and hiding behind the anonymity of a bogus user name whereby the discourse becomes vicious and sloppy. I interpret this as a “dumbing down” of America.

I seriously doubt that our forefathers from the 1700’s would understand what we say today, and people from the 1800’s would probably have trouble with our vocabulary as well.

Next, let’s consider how our first names have changed over the years. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, the top five boys names are currently: Jacob, Michael, Ethan, Joshua, and Daniel. All are fine old names. The top five girls names are: Emma, Isabella, Emily, Madison, and Ava. Again, some fine established names here as well. Ten years ago though, we were swamped with names like: Britney, Heather, and Lindsay, but these have fallen off the radar lately, probably because Hollywood is changing.

It seems it was not too long ago that we heard names like Edna, Esther, Alice, Ruth, Annabelle, Doris, Harriet, Helen, Beatrice, Maxine, Laverne, Mildred, Agnes, Herbie, Herman, Orv, and Milt, but you don’t hear too many of these names among children today. We still have stalwart names like John, Joe, Bill, Bob, Susan, Katie, Linda, Anne, and Elizabeth, but even these are starting to dwindle in use. I guess this is why I was glad to hear “Emily” was making a comeback.

It’s fun to hear America talking, but you have to listen carefully to hear our world change.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OUR RIGHT TO FAIL

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 6, 2009

As a youngster, one of the things I learned early on was that winning and losing was a natural part of any game I played, be it baseball, football, hockey, Monopoly, cards, you name it. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Nobody likes to lose, but as I have written in the past, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you have tried your best, but still failed. In fact, I have more respect for the person who valiantly tried and lost, as opposed to the person who won by cutthroat tactics.

The point is, failure is a natural part of life and an inherent property of evolution (see Charles Darwin). It is a strong message telling us that what we are doing is not working, and we can either learn from it and change or ignore it and perish. It’s nice to have a safety net, but where would we be if nobody took a risk? Without failure, life stagnates. We cannot make progress if we are not allowed to fail. Entrepreneurs, adventurers, and other Type A personalities understand in any venture there is a certain element of risk, whereby they will either reap the rewards of success, or taste the agony of defeat. They weigh the risks carefully, then work overtime to assure success, but they clearly understand there is no such thing as a guarantee for success.

There are people today who want to eliminate our right to fail, that nobody should experience the pain or embarrassment of defeat. This is why I have a problem with the bailout plans our government has devised for the banks, automotive industry, and other financial institutions. I contend the bailouts will only be a temporary fix, and the companies will not make the severe and necessary changes to survive in the years ahead. Only failure will cause them to make the required changes. To my way of thinking, the government bailout plans are only delaying the inevitable.

All of the greed and corruption we allowed to creep into our business practices have finally come home to roost. Consequently, companies are no longer maintaining a competitive edge in business, and are losing money due to unscrupulous self-centered interests and just plain stupid business decisions. The companies are all sorry for the problem and promise to never allow it to happen again. Hell, an accused murderer or rapist couldn’t say it any better. They all want redemption without having to worry about paying a penalty. I’m sorry, but that is not how the game is supposed to be played, but then again there are those who want to change the rules so that nobody loses. This is just plain wrong.

If you believe companies will make the necessary changes in their policies and operations, simply because the government is going to bail them out, you are taking it in the arm. Like it or not, failure is the only real catalyst to invoke true changes. Nothing is more powerful to truly change someone, than failure; ask anyone who has experienced it.

Nobody likes to take their medicine, but I’m afraid it is time to pass out the Castor Oil and tablespoons. It may sound silly and I don’t expect a lot of people to jump on the bandwagon, but it’s time to “Protect our right to fail!”

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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