Thursday, 24 May 2012

Linguistics

I know I harp on about the unbelievably ridiculous over-usage of the words "leading" and "solutions", the former most noticeably in the recruitment world where every client of every recruitment organisations is a "leader" (hence the often less-than pecuniary rates these "leaders" offer for the job), the latter, sitting as a great excuse for a trade name, mainly because the company couldn't be bothered to be a little bit more creative.

I always thought that if you were a "leader" in your field, you should have some form of independently assessed qualification and quantification to prove it! I can understand President Nodinnajaket of Iran or President Mugabe each being described as "one of the world's leading fruitcakes", because we see their antics daily in the news.

But how can some drinks or ball-bearing manufacturer, or a law firm, actually receive the accolade of being described as "leading". And every piss-poor SEO company spamming from India (with their "Hey" or "Howdy", not even taking a minute to actually research the owner of the business they are spam-mailing), together with no company details included and often using free Outlook or Gmail email describing themselves as "leading". Come on, get up to the mark and prove it then! How are you leading? Who says you are leading apart from yourselves? What is it you do that is so wonderful that you are leading? And what exactly are you leading? Is anyone actually following?

Then there's "solutions".  A word in the same club as admixture, amalgam, blend, combination, commixture, composite, composition, compound, dilutum, emulsion, intermixture, mix, mixture, solvent, suspension. Or, a "homogeneous mixture of two or more substances, which may be solids, liquids, gases, or a combination of these".

Yes, okay, I'm being pedantic, because "solution" also refers to "the act of solving a problem or question".

However, keep an eye out next time you travel along one of our wonderful motorways. You'll see Office Solutions, Kitchen Solutions, the firm favourite Logistic Solutions with its cousins Supply Chain Solutions and Transport Solutions, possibly a Garden Solutions, maybe a Food Supply Solutions, the odd Tour Solutions, plenty of Retail Solutions, in fact so may solutions that should there be a multi-vehicle pile-up involving these solution-branded vehicles, the threat would be that we might drown in all these solutions.

It was the same in the hawkish and more dishonest days of financial services selling some twenty years ago when you had firms aggressively selling you products you didn't want and couldn't really afford at a time when you didn't really want to be sold them. The sort of Milldon/Laurentian Life stuff, designed exclusively to help you.........make their directors rich. The type of stuff that saw the firm Allied Dunbar being affectionately known as Allied Crowbar.

Now, their sales people had the appalling habit of interjecting "basically" and "obviously" in between every second word, and these two terms remain to this day as the sure sign of a script being read out by someone who doesn't actually themselves believe in the product they are selling.

All these words - leading, solution, basically, obviously and more, are the business equivalent of the popular term "innit", which itself, if elongated into its correct constituent words, never makes sense when used by those attempting to make their English mother-tongue their second language - "Yes, I have to take time off for Aunt Maisy's funeral isn't it." or "I'll be back in a half hour because I have to take the dog for a walk, isn't it.

I really don't understand how these language abuses catch on! Although I suppose they are the verbal equivalent of wearing your peaked cap backwards, having your trouser crotch below your knees or having a tattoo on your midriff that when middle aged spread sets in, transforms the once delicate horse to some sort of bulging science-fiction creature that will scare the hell out of your fellow residents in the care home your kids throw you into.

All are as lacking in smartness as they are lacking in correctness. 

Fashionable, yes, but not even the slightest bit stylish.

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