The Joy of Lex #1: poncy words out of the mouths of poltroons and flibbertigibbets…

Man from a private litter nazi company, on the radio defending fining a pensioner £75 for dropping a match – always a rich lode of managerial bamboozlage and crimes against our mother tongue, said I paraphrase, m’lud:

“Obviously we deal with a a wide range of offences, some serious and others less so,  and with this nature of offence [referring to the heinous match-dropper of old Swindon town] obviously we would…blah…blah…

He’s spent too much time in court, vigorously busting the ass of chummy the persistent litter perp, and the legalese has rubbed off him. A magistrate might say, magisterially, as they pass sentence, using their Sunday-best dictionary, ‘“With an offence of this nature, it is always appropriate for the prosecution to consider both the exigencies of the milieu, and the provisions of statute law, inasmuch as …”

The judge has a command of the Queen’s English and ye shall not forget this, for he shalleth paradeth it before thee, most righteously. But Captain Matchstick has no such lexical perspicacity, so he goes, like, ”and with this nature of offence“ not realising that ‘nature’ in this context, does not mean the same as ‘kind’, thus making him sound like a showy-offy poltroon.

Later in the same interview he said:

“We are one tool in the council’s toolkit.”

Yes, you are.

 

The other one is ”concerning“. Top ferret word. Slots in neatly, replacing ‘worrying’ as in:

Plain speaking:

”We are very worried by this increase in homelesssness; last year we had 45 people under the age of 25 sleeping rough, this year it is 124, an increase of more than 200 per cent.“

Ferret-speak:

”We find the 200 percent increase in youth homelessness very  concerning“

Last year they called it ‘very worrying’, this year the language has been ramped up to ‘very concerning’ which sounds more concerned, pulling off the nifty stunt of sounding more caring while still not having to actually do anything about it.

I find this lexical conflation very concerning.

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One thought on “The Joy of Lex #1: poncy words out of the mouths of poltroons and flibbertigibbets…

  1. It’s the ‘robust action’, as promised by every allegedly earnest politican, that I find concerning: is mere action not action enough? Another is the promise of ‘root and branch investigation’: as if ‘thorough’, likewise, is now deemed not thorough enough. Without being provided with a variety of degrees, notches to ramp up through, we are apparently too ignorant to comprehend.

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