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The Society for the Promotion of Fluff-Free Lucid English

Date: November 07 2012


Kerry Cue

The English language is out of control. New words are being invented every nanosecond. My action group SPOFFLE, the Society for the Promotion of Fluff-Free Lucid English, is pursuing an on-going campaign to save the English language from a slow death by suffocation buried beneath mounds of spin and bull shit. At the end of the day the bottom line is that not one stakeholder in the English Language knows what another stakeholder is talking about because of our persistent overuse of cliches. And it has to stop.

Fortunately, for future generations, we at SPOFFLE continue to draw up sets of rules for the care and proper use of the English language.

Rule one: A new word can be invented if, and only if, it does not cost us more money.

You know how this works. First there was television. B&W. Then came colour telly, VCRs and cable TV. They cost us heaps. In no time, we had to fork out for DVD players then HDD thingimmys. Now any new words added to the English language for your viewing pleasure will set you back $5000.

Rule two: An acronym can be used if, and only if, it is simple and cannot be confused with other acronyms.

Take MS, SM and SMS. The first is a disease, the second sadomasochism and the third a disease that causes sadomasochism using a mobile phone. The confusion continues with ''PIN numbers'', ''BAS statements'' and the ''GPS systems''. We need an acronym cull. Get rid of the long winded WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get). Try DCWYSGF (Don't Care What You See Get F---ed).

Rule three: Anyone who uses a cliche from the following list shall be taken outside and beaten with a baseball bat.

''Think outside the square'', ''win-win situation'', ''bottom line'', ''moving forward'', ''state of the art'', ''the real world'', ''better than sex'', ''the new black'', ''easy-to-follow instructions'', ''simple to install'', ''do you want fries with that'', ''we value your custom'' or ''have a nice day''. Alternatively, think of these cliches as ending with the word ''loser''.

Rule four: The military will be banned from the use of the English language to say stupid things.

Banned terms include ''friendly fire'', ''neutralise'', ''pacify'' and ''oops''.

Rule five: New terms for the word ''drunk'' cannot be invented.

We have enough terms already. Euphemisms include ''sloshed'', ''sozzled'', ''ripped'', ''demolished'', ''hammered'' and ''befuggered''. Add the Aussie terms such as ''pissed'', ''rat-faced'' and ''legless'' and you have the Drunks' Word-a-Day Calender. That's enough.

Rule six: Generations are banned from trying to outdo previous generations with terms for ''cool''.

''Hip'' was once ''cool''. Now ''cool'' isn't as ''cool'' as ''hot''. And someone who is ''hot'' and ''cool'' is a ''hipster''. It all gets too confusing. And if the hipsters of today are going to invent a new word, they should give their parents' generation 30 days notice in writing that ''mash-up'' is now a form of music and no longer a scratch meal. Thank you.

Rule seven: The invention of new anatomical terms is banned.

Each new term gives us another bit of anatomy to worry about. Women never worried about cellulite until someone invented the word. Ditto: Abs, pecs and quads. A bloke only had to have muscles before. Now he must know each muscle by its nickname.

Rule eight: Swear words shall be classified by a Committee: GA (Get Arrested), AO (Almost OK) and GU (General Use).

We need to know which words are officially offensive. When I was a kid, we had our mouths washed out with soap for saying words that they print on T-shirts and sell on coffee mugs today. Bugger, for instance. Are ''screw you'' and ''get stuffed'' offensive or have they morphed into terms of endearment? Can the word ''crap'' be uttered in a conversation with your teacher or your nanna? Urgent clarification is needed.

Rule 9: Words cannot be pinched from one area and used in another It gets too confusing.

Take the word ''gay''. Homosexuals stole it from happy folk. Now school kids think it is bad. Which is it? IT guys took words from cooks (Apple, cookie, chip and spam.) Cocktail makers stole names from sex educators (Multiple Orgasm, Sex on the Beach and some with a GA rating.) Bra manufacturers stole names from rocket scientists (uplift, booster). One meaning per word is enough.

Rule 10: Whatever it is that American's speak, it shall be declared a language other than English or, alternatively, all Americans shall be gagged.

There are a few misunderstandings. If a Yank is ''pissed'', he's angry. Here he's legless. The TV Nanny was thrown out on her ''fanny''. Different meaning in Australia, if they only knew . Americans keep inventing stupid, possibly evil, words. Try ''bridalplasty''. It's the face-lift a girl gets before her wedding. So the groom proposes to his girl to discover a mummified, cat-faced creature walking down the aisle toward him. That might be a little frightening. They've also given us ''bromance'', ''frenemy'' and ''staycation''. Are they gay, legless, stuffed or uplifted? I'll befuggered if I know.

kerrycue@yahoo.com.au

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