Sunday, January 1, 2017

Vamoose, Verbal Varmints!

I have no idea about the academic standing of Lake Superior State University in Michigan's Upper Peninsula area. I suspect that lower Michigan residents, some of whom are related to me, probably call it "U-per U" now and again.

But they provide one of the finest services known to speakers of the English language each year when they suggest words that should never be spoken or written again. The number of stupid ways of saying stupid things, especially online, is progressing faster than the infinite number of monkeys can type them. But LSSU stands bravely in the gap with their list. Its ultimate impact may only be symbolic in the face of the torrent of first-time-clever, second-time-not-so-much, nth-time-stupid-and-really-not-all-that-clever-the-first-time-anyway phrases and words we see.

Perhaps some rich person should consider funding an entire research department at LSSU dedicated to this task, offering classes and degrees in it. The major could emphasize clear and simple communication, the use of words in organized formats to explain, persuade, illustrate or entertain, and increasing students' abilities in the area by examining the work of others who demonstrate special skill or talent in it.

Sixty years ago that would have been called an English department, but considering what goes on in those programs you could probably call it whatever you wanted these days.


fillyjonk said...

Ah, I had missed seeing that for this year! I always look forward to those and find myself agreeing with at least most of them.

(And my mom is a Yooper. She hasn't been back in a number of years as most of her close relatives are gone, but I still have a couple of distant cousins up there and I fondly remember family trips to Rapid River every summer for many years)

Friar said...

My relations are in Jackson and Ann Arbor.