or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Beg to Differ

Today we have a couple of non-standard usages, which is mostly a way of saying that actually, they're wrong. Expect to see lots more examples of these two in the future, as people are less and less acquainted with the subtleties and the roots of the English language--in today's examples, Greek.


From the necessary, hilarious Go Fug Yourself:

Please note, this has the exact same collar as the dress she wore above, which begs the question: are these dresses detachable?

"Beg the question" does not mean "pose the question". It's a term from rhetoric--specifically, a logical fallacy in which one assumes the truth of the proposition one is trying to prove, thereby leading to a circular argument.

However, since the ladies at GFY later printed this hilariously, monstrously cruel bit about Sharon Stone, all is forgiven.


And from Slate.com's discussion of the Oscars:

That was it for partisan statements, right? Rachel Weisz did use the word "unflinching" to describe The Constant Gardener's take on big bad Big Pharma, and those March of the Penguins Frenchmen looked mildly subversive without ties on, but no one else felt much of a need to lace this kudofest with politics.

The problem here is "kudofest". "Kudos" is the Greek word from "praise"; it ends with an "-s", and usually in English that signifies a plural, but not in this case, any more than the equally Greek "bathos" does. (There isn't such a thing as a batho. Or, for that matter, a patho.)

If we needed further indication that these words aren't standard English plurals, we might note that their pronunciation doesn't accord with English, either; rather than having that plural-marking voiced "-s" sound, which is a buzzed "-z", they end with an unvoiced "-s", which is a hiss, more commonly denoted at the end of English words by a doubled "-ss", as in "hardness".

So if we wanted to turn "kudos" into a compound, we'd need to keep it intact: "kudosfest", or, much more likely, "kudos-fest".


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