Tuesday, September 28, 2010
  Language update for September



Professor Polistra brings in a new load of misused or mispronounced words.

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Ask as a noun:

"How heavy a lift is this ask?"

"Pakistan is ignoring our asks."

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi began turning outrage into leverage Wednesday night, carrying a wish list of asks into the White House."

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Controversial:

Means a common-sense and factual belief shared by 100% of AMERICANS, and violently opposed by 100% of journalists, government officials, educators, and religious leaders. Controversial is actually a euphemism for heretical. All government officials, educators and religious leaders are permitted to shoot, burn, or banish anyone who holds a controversial belief.

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Vibrant:

"an independent, vibrant state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel" -- Obama doing the Peace Process crap. (Prof Polistra wonders why every President feels obliged to run this Peace Process, since it never goes anywhere. Why do they seek a guaranteed failure?)

"in Harlem, controversy meets vibrant community..."

"Human rights for all is vital to a vibrant community..."

Vibrant is a euphemism. A vibrant community is a place where white people aren't safe.

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In vitro for in utero.

Dennis Miller interviewing an author who travels a lot: "You pretty much exited the womb and hit the road, eh?" "Nah, I already had a few frequent flier miles in vitro."

Understandable confusion, since "in vitro fertilization" is a common phrase referring to the same general vicinity, while "in utero" is a rare phrase.

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Jubulant (joob-yoo-lant) for jubilant.

Prof P doesn't see the reason for this one. Appears to be a transfer from turbulent, but turbulent isn't more common than jubilant.

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Tim Pawlenty:

is usually pronounced Plentay, rhymes with Partaaaayyyy! Again no conceivable reason, just a habit passed among the elites.

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ChilAY (rhymes with Pawlentaaaayyyyy!)

Noticed during the recent earthquake and mine disaster. Another one of those idiotic foreignish pronunciations like Copenhawgen or Pawkeestawn. Putting the accent on the last syllable always sounds more foreignish even if it's not supposed to be there. (More charitably, this could be a stupid back-formation from Chilean.)

Later: Chilé is even spreading to the peppers, which of course should be chilis. In this NPR feature about the "grand dame of Mexican cookery", the announcer says chilés every time! Classic example of hypercorrection.

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Iráq:

Not new, but another annoying example of our idiot insistence that Foreignish always has the accent on the last syllable. Natives pronounce it EE-raq. Especially annoying when some 'illiterate' American happens to say EYE-rack, and a 'literate' American "corrects" him to ee-RACK. Both wrong. We didn't always pronounce it in Foreignish, though. Before the Satanic Bush family (damned be their unholy name) forced America to fuck around in Iraq to guarantee our national destruction, Iraq was just one of those mysterious Oriental places, and literate Americans pronounced it EE-raq.

Example in this one-minute MP3 segment from a 1939 Info Please broadcast.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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