Monday, June 13, 2016

win debates by corrupting English language.

David Harsanyl writes for the Federalist, "How Democrats Win Debates By Corrupting the English Language. This is the area that Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom has written at length the last decade. Jeff is a constitutional textualist. Words have meaning and Jeff has been defending those meanings fiercely. He's been defending clear communication fiercely. Compared to all that David hardly brushes the subject with a few pet peeves that he's noticed recently. David Harsanyl cites these examples.

* Loophole
* legalized tax fraud
* access
* free
* ban
* outlawing
* deny women
* extraordinary measures
* reproductive justice unit
* disenfranchisement
* open borders
* cost
* investment

An incomplete list. I'm certain good examples will be found in comments over there but I lost interest. We talk about what he is complaining about all the time. And the whole time I was thinking that we do this too. We do this all the time as matter of course. It is not a particularly liberal trait nor a uniquely Democrat trait. Although it seems Democrats are more creative than Republicans with language and lot more consciously active in this. Lawyers switch terms midstream. 

I think we do this in regular non political speech because saying the same thing the same way is uninteresting so we think of a different way, a comical way to say the same thing and be different about it. An attempt to be interesting. And we come up with such good substitutes they are picked up and repeated and then we end up with new idioms that amounts to fairly thoroughly insincere communication. 

I wanted to talk about this anyway. The discussion is not political. It has nothing to do with the left’s creativity with language that distresses the right so much. The dictionary of idioms in English for people learning how to say them in signs shows how direct their language is compared with English that is loaded with strange euphemisms that sound insincere when they are seen translated into a language that is honest and graphically straightforward. How are English idioms interpreted? By defining them. has a phrases dictionary. These samples are drawn from that. 

You choose a conversational phrase by category. Among  topics as animals, clothes, colors, food, health, holidays, four groups on technology, sports, travel, there are four categories on English idioms. (Conversely there is one small group for ASL idioms, a collection of odd signs)

Drawn from group I

“Add fuel to the fire.” How do you interpret that? Do you show “fuel” and “fire?” Does fuel and fire belong in your picture to convey the meaning of this idiom? Should you just say the English idiom and let them figure out why you are suddenly mentioning fuel and fire? Is arson involved in your story? No. You speak sincerely and say what that strange picture means. It’s translated “become worse” 

And all the way through all four lists you go, “Duh!” Good Lord, we speak insincerely. 

“Albatross around your neck” Should you say bird (beak) and spell Albatros? Show a bird around your neck? What does that saying mean? It is translated “burden” (where “responsibility” goes, on the shoulder)

“all ears” = “attention” (horse blinders)
“all thumbs” = “awkward” (duck walking)
“ants in your pants” = “shaky and nervous”
“apple of your eye” = “I adore” 
“as the crow flies” = “to” a finger straight to a point.
“asleep at the switch” = “attention, none” 
“at the 11th hour” = “near end” 
“at the drop of a hat” = “ping”
“at the end of your rope” = “had it” (up to my neck)
“ax to grind” = “complaint” 

That’s it for the “A”s. 

The "B"s follow and that's it. Provided for examples as just how fundamentally insincere and indirect our language has become, and we do this for interest and for fun. 

Try to guess how these idioms are interpreted. By defining them. 

“babe in woods” = “innocent”
“back to square one” = “start again”
“back to the drawing board” = “plan, start, again”
“backseat driver” = “explain person”
“badmouth someone” = “gossip”
“baker’s dozen” = “13”
“bark up the wrong tree” = “confuse, answer, wrong”
“bats in your bellfry” = “crazy”
“batten down the hatches” = “ready”
“be fed up with” = “enough” (up to one’s neck”
“beat a dead horse” = “idea, continue” (on and on)
“beat around the bush” = “back and forth over the point”
“beat the band” = “boast”
“beat your swords into plowshares” = “restore, become peaceful”
“beats me” = “don’t know”
“beauty is in the eye of the beholder” = “beauty, depend, view of individual”
“bed of roses” = “soft, layer, nice”
“bee in your bonnet” = “complaint”
“beggars can’t be choosers” = “need, no pick”
“behind the eight ball” = “eesh stuck” 
“bells and whistles” = “fancy”
“below par” = “under normal”
“bent out of shape” = “fall on one’s back”
“better half” = “husband / wife”
“between a rock and a hard place” = “stuck between”
“between the devil and the deep blue sea” = “stuck between”
“beware of Greeks bearing gifts” = “face maybe not safe”
“birds of a feather flock together” =  “people same same (in a cup)”
“bite off more than you can chew” = “grab more cant”
“bite the bullet” = “gasp apprehension” 
“bite the hand that feeds you” = “pay + flick off (disregard)”
“bite your tongue” = “stay quiet”
“blabbermouth” = “gossipy” 
“black sheep of the family” = “family, us, why, 1, bad” 
“bleeding heart” = “support, support, support, support, support, all around” (looks like pounding)
“blessing in disguise” = “bless, underneath”
“blind leading the bind” = “not know, lead, person”
“blood is thicker than water” = “family, strength”
“blow your own horn” = “brag”
“blow your stack” = “explode a lid”
“blow your top” =  “explode a lid”
“blue blood” = “snob”
“bolt form the blue” = “pop up, surprise”
“born with a silver spoon in your mouth” = “grow up rich”
“bottom line” = “direct to the point”
“bowl of cherries” = “very happy”
“break a leg” = “good luck” 
“break the ice” = “suppress, soft” (this is wrong, it means “start + conversation”)
“bring down the house” = “blow big wind” (This is wrong also, it means “great + applause”)
“bring home the bacon” = “money, earn”
“bug off” = “get away”
“bug someone” = “bother”
“bull headed” = “stubborn”
“bull in a china shop” = “clumsy” 
“burn the candle at both ends” = “work around (too much)”
“burn the midnight oil” = “midnight, to day, work work work”
“burn your bridges behind you” “look behind, so what, look ahead”
“burn yourself out” = “exhaustion”
“bursting at the seams” = “excited”
“bury the hatchet” = “peace”
“bury your head in the sand” = “problem, not me” 
“busman’s holiday” = “work / home, money, same here, same there”
“busy as a beaver” = “busy all over the place”
“busy as a bee” = “busy all over the place”
“butter someone up” = “flatter” (brush an individual)
“butterflies in the stomach” = “apprehensive”
“button your lip” = “shut up”
“buy a pig in a polk” = “buy this, buy that, whatever”
“by hook or by crook = “goal, success, will”
“by the skin of your teeth = “close”

This completes the English B idioms and how they are managed. 

1 comment:

AprilApple said...

Hillary and her corrupt media = corrupt.

Investment pivot rigorous pivot universal pivot. All while she pockets insider cash and yells that such a practice must stop!