Pedantry at its finest

I’ve been reading a internal blog entry that is the second in a series from the “Managing Editor of Global Communications” complaining about the use of jargon inside the company. As is almost always the case, the writer is an American employee. In the first in the series I had a couple of comments, but I just gave up reading this one. After a brief sentence outlining the problem, the blog entry says:

I want to make it clear that my beef with all our talk about “wins” is not with the wins themselves, it’s with jargon.

“Wins” is a bit of an outlier, jargon-wise. Typically jargon is the result of turning a noun into a verb (as in, and you didn’t hear it from me, bucketize). Here we’re turning a verb into a noun. A plural noun, even. Yuck.

At this point I had to stop reading and post a comment, which got split into two as I needed to make a minor correction. I wrote:

How do beef and yuck work overseas? Your cow with “wins”? Yuck is what precisely? A taste, a sentiment, a sense of dislike? Interestingly even wikipedia doesn’t have a disintermediation for it.

Coloquilasims are often a greater problem than jargon, at least jargon can be institutional, and thus have some instituional meaning, coloquilasims are mostly not understood outside of their region of origin. The British and Americans can’t agree to “table their differences”, how can we expect everyone else to understand?


I take it back, there is indeed a wikipedia entry that shows the potential confusion around yuck. I’m assuming disgust rather than laughter in this instance.

and then I went back to reading, the author in trying to explain, teach, and coach her son, while at the dinner table, writes:

Your son is struggling with his multiplication tables. You drill him every night at dinner, and it’s as frustrating an exercise as possible.

My 3rd comment was:

Again, I’m struggling with the concept of someone from China who only reads formal English understanding the concept of drilling your son at the dinner table every night, first question electric or battery drill? Next wood or metal drill bits? Finally, in America drilling holes in your son is OK?

They say humor doesn’t travel and Americans have no sense of irony… this proves otherwise 🙂


The Brit’ pedant in Round Rock, TX

You can’t make this stuff up…

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

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