he Croatian National Truckers Union, the acclaimed English-language watchdog body, recently issued its 2013 “Is Bad Transmission, No?” report, which annually highlights dubious English-language usage in both speech and writing.
“Family to which words belong like boy and girl with feeling,” explained the body’s Nobel Prize-winning chairman, Bro Goran, in a press conference following the release of the document. “Is important all have good uncles in times of speak.”
Here are selected words and expressions underscored as harmful in the report’s prestigious “Ä Çertain Paiñ” section.
- Process as a verb. “We truck? No. We car? No. We computer? No.” Goran and his fellow authors say “process” is better suited to mechanical usages. “I not process pretty girl. I not process low gas,” insists Goran. “Is waste of fuel.” Process, he says, should never be preferred over such forms as “to think,” or “to reflect” or “to consider,” unless the speaker is being chased by Malware. “Is simple,” says Goran. “If head, use head.”
- Multiple in place of many. Says Goran: “Chicken, when talk, not. Then lay many eggs.” Multiple, he says, “is ugly thing to forget with mathematics teacher on table.” The use of “many,” he says, was a standard plural for centuries, “until computers infect mothers at home, make them like army people.”
- Bro. “Is tank? Is man? Is what? Dog? What this? Who this? Is maybe engine with bad sound?” Goran notes that the last time men regularly used “bro” as a form of abbreviated address was among poorly-dressed Cro-Magnon hunters, though at the time the word was more of a grunt, signifying “food,” “go away,” or “my animal alone, except for tusk,” depending on inflection.
- Blogosphere. The Union has officially banned this word, “is like sickness all over with loud sound inside, never stopping,” said the report. “Is true,” confirmed Goran, suggesting the word may actually have origins in a cabal of senile 19th-century Balkan conspirators terrified of global assonance. (The Union also said it also worried about the proliferation of the word “podcast,” which it compared to: “small fur with animal teeth, everywhere biting.”)
- Awesome. This word appears regularly, but Goran issued a new and ominous caution: “When world end twice, what? When cat fly, what? Is to save, this word, until grandmother is suddenly baby again. Until truck is supermodel.” The Union pointed out that “awesome” is used “extremely million” times daily in North America, nearing Verbal Hazard Rates (VHR) of 13 uses per 100.
- It. Goran noted that that group’s charter includes a proviso barring the use of Skoda cars and impersonal pronouns as surrogates for sex. “You with girl and touch girl inside. Good, no? What ‘it’? Love girl, or boy, to make together, no?” For Goran, impersonal pronouns impoverish the language. “You ask me. I say: I drive truck. Not it.”
- Very unique. Unique, the Union insists, is just that, “like special valve!” says Goran. It is an absolute. To modify it is a tautology, which Goran compares to “excited driver in broken truck…”
- “The reason is because…” The reason is the because. Something happens for a reason or because of an event, not both. “Is reasonable, no?”
- Unprecedented. The Union said the word’s constant use was environmentally harmful as well as misleading, with Goran asserting: “Everything in old truck happen before when truck was before owned and people not know. Everything before happen again. Check manual.”
- In fact. The Union pointed out this usage in its “Flavor Rust” section, which covers unwise borrowing from other languages. The Italian language introductory clause infatti, “in fact,” is transliterated by many local English-speakers, who often begin their own sentences with the same clause. According to Goran: “Italy not even true fact; Italy maybe, if border crossing open.”
- Issue This word and its plural, “issues,” the Union said (citing the example “He has issues…”), diminished specificity (“is cat, dog and elephant same,” says Goran. “Means all things and no thing…”) If someone is “sad” or “disappointed” or “angry” or even “troubled,” specific and suggestive words exist to describe those states that the generic “issues” eliminates. “My father kill me, my mother love me — which is issue?” remarks Goran.
- Meds. “Call pill pill, always. Not work if not called. I take pill, drug, not med. What is med? Water? Sea? Fish. Is bad.”
- Huge. The Union rued excessive application of the word, which was once associated mostly with size. Commonplace usage, particularly in sports, was ruining its impact, Goran said. “Truck is big. No? Always big, never small. This is truck. Truck huge. What about ant? Ant not city. Ant not truck. But ant come too many in kitchen and problem is ‘huge.’ World end. Again. Bad for highways.”
The Union again fined “totally” (“Go closet,” said Goran), “like” (on the list since 1959), “subconscious” (Goran: “Is in truck? No. Read manual.”), “cool” (on the list since 1840), and “terrorist” (“Unless man steal gasoline, is not,” says Goran. “If man steal gasoline, is, but why he steal gasoline? Why he do what he do? Is question to answer always.”)