Wow! I can tell school has started by looking at the date of my last entry! Somehow the entire month of September has slipped by! Tick... Tock....
Today I'm in the mood to vent. So, like I want to talk about words and language, and all the changes that I've noticed in the last couple of decades or so in the way people talk. Students and adults around me, certainly, but also public speakers on TV are speaking differently than they did in my youth. There have been changes in my lifetime, and I think they are noteworthy.
Hubs and I watch a lot of shows on HGTV: House Hunters, Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Flip or Flop - just to name a few. We've noticed on those shows many home buyers and realtors now talk about the "price point" of a house. At first, I thought a price point was more of a range, but the more I hear it used, the more I think people are using it to refer to a specific price. Example: "I want to buy a house at the $250,000 price point." I am curious when this phrase started being used, and why it was necessary. Why can't people just say, "I want to buy a house that is (about) $250,000"? Or, "My budget is $250,000." Do any of you know where "price point" came from and how its intended use is different than what we were already saying? Google Books Ngram Viewer shows its use sharply rising as of 1980. What happened in 1980 to cause people to start using the phrase?
The word "venue" is another new one to me. I became aware of this word in the '90s when people started talking about music venues - places where concerts were being held. When I attended the Carpenters concert at a basketball arena on the west side of Cleveland, I didn't hear the word "venue" being used. I don't remember the name of the stadium, but I mention the concert because it was the first pop concert I attended, and I'm pretty sure it was in the late 1970s. I looked at the word on Google Book's Ngram Viewer, and it shows the use of the word increasing significantly between 1960 and 1980, but then skyrocketing sharply about 1980. Why?
At some time in the last 50 years, people who work in the hair care industry have gone from talking about "hair care products" to simply "product". Example, "How much product do you use on your hair?" or "I don't like to use a lot of product on my hair." Is this just shorter and easier? Is this a word that used to be used by industry insiders and now has spread to consumers as well?
Now we come to some pet-peeves: Just in the last few weeks, I've made a conscious effort to notice all the people on TV who begin an explanation with "so".
Here is an example:
Interviewer: What inspired you to write this newest book?"
Interviewee: "So I've always been interested in the history of...."
"What got you started making this product?"
"So, I was working with my son on a school project..."
It seems like I hear this almost everywhere on TV now: The News, SharkTank, The Daily Show, The Tonight Show. At first it was mostly teens and 20something people, but now I'm hearing it with a middle-aged group, as well. I'm also not just hearing it from average citizens, but from professional writers, politicians and celebrities. Where did this come from?
Sometimes "so" is combined with the old Valley Girl use of "like":
"So, like, I am working on a new movie...."
Sometimes there is a "yeah" thrown in too: "Yeah, so, like I I took a trip to Europe and I saw..."
Now there is another variation on "yeah...." where it is used with "no", and that often has a sarcastic tone to it:
"So, like, do you want to go to the party with HER?"
"Yeah.... NO, I thinkin'... not so much!
Thinking about all these random words being thrown in is making my head spin. It's also reminding me that when I teach Speech next semester, I might have even more crap language to eradicate from my student's speeches than just "like".
This whole topic is a good example of how language evolves, and many times we have no idea where or why the changes begin. Readers? What say you? Please share your thoughts with me. What new words are YOU hearing?
Thanks for reading, and don't forget to feed the fish! They weren't fed for the entire month of September!