Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Annual vote of words to be banned

According to the Lake Superior State University's annual survey "Baby bump", "man cave" and "amazing" should all be banished from the English language. The Michigan university receives submissions from around the world and collates a list of the year's worst cases of word abuse.

"Amazing" toped the poll this year with suggestions that it was over-used on television. LSSU said "It seemed to bother people everywhere, as nominations were sent from around the US and Canada and some from overseas, including Israel, England and Scotland.

Gitel Hesselberg, writing in from Haifa, was concerned that "people use 'amazing' for anything that is nice or heartwarming. In other words, for things that are not amazing". A correspondent from British Columbia agreed, saying that "the word which once aptly described the process of birth is now used to describe such trivial things as toast, or the colour of a shirt".

The "word banishment" list has been running since 1975, when it was dreamed up by former LSSU public relations director Bill Rabe at a New Year's Eve party. Although LSSU has received tens of thousands of nominations over the years, its attempt to banish words has, had little effect: that very first list attempted to outlaw the use of "at this point in time", "meaningful", "dialogue", "meaningful dialogue", "implement" and "viable".

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