The Ethics of Suffix!

20 Oct

A few posts ago I told you that Carla, my younger daughter, is getting married next year.

Faith and I were delighted as were most of the other customers in the China department of John Lewis’ store in Cambridge who were privy to Faith’s half of the mobile phone conversation during which the news was broken to us!

After that initial excitement had worn down a bit, various arrangements started to be made and, naturally, Faith and I made various helpful suggestions.

This article, though, is not about those arrangements or our suggestions – rather it concerns the wording used by Carla when she told us quite emphatically that this is to be HER wedding and will be organised HER way. All we are required to do is cough up the money for a large part of the costs!

The actual expression that she used (which I hadn’t heard before but which is, apparently quite common) contained a single word which set my teeth on edge immediately.

It was to the effect that we would have to indulge her wishes or she was likely to go “Bride-zilla” on us!

Now anyone who really knows me (or has read my pieces entitled “Heathen Essex habits” and “Good”, from February and March 2010 respectively, about my dislike of certain other annoying linguistic foibles) will understand why I took exception to that term.

The “word” does, of course, arise from the 1954 Japanese movie, “Godzilla” about an ocean-dwelling radioactive monster conceived as a cross between a Tyrannosaurus, a Stegosaurus and an Alligator as well as a metaphor for nuclear weapons.

I decided to look up the word “Godzilla” and found these interesting facts.

The film-makers had to call it something that would be pronounceable by Western audiences and chose a word that is an anglicised misinterpretation of a Japanese portmanteau word combining terms in that language for “Gorilla” and “Whale”! Quite how it ended up as a giant, bad-tempered, upright Lizard is really a bit of a mystery!

So, to use a part of an inaccurate Japanese nonsense word to confer a new nuance of meaning to a real English word, seems to me to be utterly daft!

Not, of course, that I accuse Carla of creating the term – she has simply picked it up as a fully formed term in general usage amongst the current batch of marrying couples.

And it is not, it must be said, quite as awful as the other unwelcome addition to the English language that has somehow crept in over the last 40 years or so.

I refer to the extension of words by the addition of the letters “oholic” to convey a state of addiction to something.

This all stems from the perfectly acceptable “Alcoholic” (descriptive of one who is addicted to alcohol) and the word is made up of the elements “alcohol” and “ic”. NOT, as the ignorant seem to have assumed “Alco” and “holic”!

The most prominent misuses of this concern the words used to define those who over-indulge in “retail therapy” (Shopoholics), those infatuated with Cocoa products (Chocoholics) and the idiots who won’t leave the office when their contracted hours are finished (Workoholics)!

I never tire of pointing out that while any competent chemist can reproduce “Alcohol”, science has not yet managed to synthesise the substances “Shopohol”, “Chocohol” or “Workohol”, that these people are presumed to be addicted to, and probably never will.

Indeed things are made worse, not better, by my spell checker telling me that the “accepted” spellings of those terms are Shopaholic, Chocaholic and Workaholic so they aren’t even screwing up the language consistently!

Nevertheless there is still no such chemical as Workahol!

I do intend to campaign for correct English usage even if I have to get Writaholic and go Blog-zilla on you to achieve my ends!



Posted by on October 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “The Ethics of Suffix!

  1. Vincent

    October 21, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Allow me to add another couple of sillies…

    Sticking “-gate” on the end of anything that possesses even a faint whiff of scandal (after Watergate, for the benefit of younger readers – look it up). I’m just waiting for a large gate to fall on someone famous – then they can call it… but you’re ahead of me.

    And after America’s “9/11”, using month/date numbers for any infamous, tragic or disasterous occasion. Of course, being America, they got the date and month REVERSED – which didn’t make any difference to Britain’s “7/7” (the bombings that resulted from Blair following The Monkey into Iraq) – which appears to have confused the Japanese.

    They were already confused enough – whilst SORT-OF joining America’s TV line-standard (N.T.S.C. – which stands for National Television System Committee – although it’s known in the trade as Never Twice the Same Colour) they actually have NTSC-J, which is slightly different.

    This confusion is compounded by their mains time-base. Most of the World goes with 50Hz – but as ever, America went with 60. And believe it or not, Japan has BOTH! 50 down one side of the country and 60 down the other (I’m not making that up). THAT must give the technicians nightmares.

    Anyhoo, on the 11th of March, 2011, in Japan, a Tsunami (they INVENTED the word – being on a fault-line, they get a lot of ’em) struck, the ferocity of which surprised even THEM. Much havoc and loss of life resulted, so… you guessed it – they called it 3/11.

    This uses the American backwards system – but whether Japan normally does that or whether they were influenced by The States’ 9/11, I really don’t know.

    Any Japanese readers care to clarify?

    • Alfie

      October 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      It is a very good job that nothing bad happened in the States on 11th July – the American press could have got into some spectacular lawsuits with the 7-Eleven fast food chain!

      • Vincent

        October 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm

        Actual LOL!!


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