Monday, 11 July 2016

Me vs "Words"

Back in my university days, I took a number of archaeology and anthropology classes. The professors teaching them tended to have a lot of…um… character.

One prof I had was basically the Jane Goodall of orangutans. She’s worked with them for years, advocated for their protection, and was very good at making what should have been an otherwise interesting subject somewhat dry.  She also held all of her classes at 9 pm just to keep herself on Borneo time. I got very sleepy.

Another one had stories of fantastic South American dig sites. His adventures sounded exciting and beautiful. And then he ruined it with follow up stories about a Bot fly laying eggs in his skin and of snakes that fall out of trees and bite you for the sheer enjoyment of it. Snakes are assholes.
This thoroughly cemented my desire to pursue non-tropical archaeological subjects. 

I can also knap obsidian like a fucking boss.

And then there was the professor who liked maize.  All he talked about in class was maize. How it was grown, how it was harvested, how it was cooked, and how it wasn’t the same as corn….but for all intents and purposes, that shit looks pretty much like fucking corn.

And he used terrible words.

Over the course of a couple of lectures he used, in various contexts, words like classificatory and genetical.

Now from what I can see (thanks Google) classificatory is sort of a word depending on who you ask, but it’s more likely a terrible bastardization of the word classification.  Why the shit anyone would choose to use it is absolutely beyond me.  

But he did. In fact, it was even the answer to a test question.

My friend (and this still makes me laugh) wrote beside her answer that this wasn’t, in fact, a word. When she got her test back, he had marked her answer correct, but added to her comment that it was a word, and more specifically that it was an adverb.

No sir, it is not.

If you choose to use classificatory, and you should not, it would be an adjective, not an adverb. If you wanted to turn this shitty word into an adverb, you would need to say classificatorily. This is even worse. If you ever hear someone use it, you may want to reconsider knowing them.

Which brings me to genetical.  This is not a word. Even Google agrees that this is not a word. Using this in a sentence is a terrible idea, and you should feel bad for doing so.

But he did. Again and again. And it was painful. We could have made it into a drinking game.....And the genetical predisposition for brow ridges can be seen here....bottoms up!

More recently, I encountered the "word" dramatical. It was used in a place where I knew it shouldn’t be, but I had no power to change it, and so I didn't even have a chance to make proper fun of it. At least my friend was able to vent her frustration at the sloppy, half-baked classificatory, but in this case I couldn’t say anything.
To be fair, Urban Dictionary provides a definition for this word, making it technically an actual word, though if we accept this, we also need to accept bae as a word, which I'm not willing to do.
According to Urban Dictionary, dramatical means to be so dramatic that one even seems to be theatrical*
The example they give for this depressing bastardization of the English language is as follows: "Flavor Flav ousted the DRAMATICAL girls".

Oh sweet Lord. I think it’s reasonably safe to say that if your definition for a word contains any reference to Flavor Flav, you should seriously reconsider your life choices before using it in any grown-up setting. Or you should be buying stock in necklace clocks. Basically, friends don't let friends use dramatical.

And with that I'll remove my grammar nazi hat for the day. It's been fun. ;-)


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