Monday 16 October 2023

Fancy Talk

 I've noticed recently that the English word 'homage' seems to be passing out of use, replaced by the French, altogether fancier-sounding 'hommage'. The latter is quite a useful term in the artistic, literary and musical field, but now it's broken out of that enclave and is edging the English word out of use altogether, which seems a shame. This is part of a more general taste for unnecessarily fancifying straightforward words – the ridiculous 'unbeknownst' for 'unknown', 'begrudgingly' for 'grudgingly'... Or there are clever-seeming but fundamentally incorrect pronunciations of foreign words, 'lonzheray' for lingerie being a particularly mystifying example. (This is something other than such persistent straight mispronunciations as, for example, 'tagliatelle' with a sounded G, or 'bruschetta' with 'sh' for 'sk'.) Another bizarre trend, which I hope won't get far, is the use of 'masseuse' – pronounced 'mass-use' – to denote a masseur of either sex. I could go on. I won't. 


  1. There is also overuse of certain words such as the now generic term ‘emotional’ . What do people mean when they say they are getting emotional? Are they angry, sad, disgusted, sad, happy? As for straightforward mispronunciations, the ones that make me cringe are mischeevious for mischievous . Then there is haitch instead of aitch for the letter H and jewlery for jewelry. I could go on too but I won’t in an attempt to defuse a rant.