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!