Issue 200, page 3

Search Home FAQ Links Site map Book Store

BackIssues

New Ask Us Theory About

curmdgeon.GIF (1254 bytes) Curmudgeons' Corner

Guestmudgeon Terry Berg is complaint-ing about...

[Some time] ago I heard Tom Ridge on CNN talking about the security measures surrounding the Democratic Convention during which he used a phrase along the lines of "all of those conventioning here".  I have to assume he meant "all attending the convention" or "all (of those) convening here" but I can't be sure.  Conventioning isn't in my dictionary but it gets more than a few hits with MSN search. 

I wonder if this FUNCTION-ing explosion (a la the Bronx Cheer's evil twin conversat-ing) is like a viral outgrowth of the transformation of words like vacate (v) to vacation (n) and back to vacation-ing (v) again?   I expect that the Illiterati, in a perfectly consistent way, are re-construction-ing the new English.
 

Then I found out that it's worse than I thought:
 
After my having mentioned the use of conventioning by Tom Ridge, I was told by a friend that redecisioning was currently employed in internal documentation at BofA.  Evidently, we owe more than we could ever have guessed to the erudition of sports culture.  It's clearly winning the war against all things academic.
 
de搾i新ion (di-sizh'en) n. 1. The passing of judgment on an issue under consideration. 2. The act of reaching a conclusion or making up one's mind. 3. A conclusion or judgment reached or pronounced; a verdict. 4. Firmness of character or action; determination. 5. Sports. A victory in boxing won on points when no knockout has occurred. --de搾i新ion tr.v. de搾i新ioned, de搾i新ion搏ng, de搾i新ions. Sports. To achieve a victory over, as in boxing: He decisioned his opponent in the third round of the match. [Middle English decisioun, from Old French decision, from Latin decisio, decisio-, curtailment, settlement, from decidere, to cut off, decide. See DECIDE.] --de搾i"sion戢l adj.

- American Heritage Dictionary

It can be confounding.  But it is human nature to assume that a language rule applies across the board, even if technically it doesn't work.  Steven Pinker speaks about this phenomenon in his book The Language Instinct, a fascinating trip into how our minds work linguistically.  One good example we hear is "boughten".  It's not a word, but even educated people utter it when speaking informally, patterning the conjugation of bought on words like wear and bear (i.e., worn and born).  However, one still has to wonder why, in the case of the neo-verb decision, the old standard decide won't work!

As an aside, the OED does not list decision as a verb.

Have you heard or read similar or equally distressing usages?

Do tell us. 

Read this before commenting on this week's Curmudgeons' Corner

Do you enjoy reading Take Our Word For It?  Then help us out with a donation.  It's easy, and you can pay via credit card.  Just click the button.

PREVIOUS  |  NEXT

Comments, additions? Send to Melanie & Mike: melmike@takeourword.com
DO NOT SEND QUERIES TO THAT ADDRESS.  Instead, ASK US.
Copyright 1995-
2006 TIERE
Last Updated 01/30/06 07:27 PM