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Jerome Parisse

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Member Since: May, 2010

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Blogs by Jerome Parisse

It's all about words...
7/19/2010 2:22:57 PM

I've just been for a swim - twenty laps, my usual. It's winter in Australia at the moment, so I went to the indoor pool near my place. The water always feels a tad too cold there, and it takes me about four laps to warm up. To forget about the cold, I usually focus on a chosen topic and let my mind go free. The choice of topic depends on a variety of factors, ranging from home cooking to books and writing (of course), work (yikes), friends and family, travel, money, colours, printers, trees, possums, lorikeets... you name it. Today, it simply was about the use of certain words and expressions.

The reason is that as I was about to jump in the water, I caught a few words uttered by a man standing on the edge of the pool. He was saying, "And I thought to myself..." I'm not sure if it's just me or if it is a worldwide phenomenon, but people seem to be saying, "I think to myself", more and more often these days. Of course, what they should be saying is simply "I think", because you can't think to anyone else than yourself. Thinking is a quintessentially individual and personal process, unless you're thinking aloud or you're brainstorming ideas in a group. Another expression that gets me going every time is, "nodding one's head". What else do you want to nod? Your knee or your thumb? I also have a problem with people confusing "it's" (as in, "it is") with "its", and "there" with "they're" or "their". What worries me here is that they are grammatically very different things, and the fact that people are confused means they don't really understand what they are saying. The same thing happens with the confusion between "have" and "of" (The horror!). Sometimes, it's more benign: all my colleagues at work keep writing "compliment" when what they really mean is "complement". But look who's talking! As a non native English speaker, I do make mistakes as well. However I find English so much more powerful than, say, my native French, to express ideas. The French Academy is rigid and all it does is impede the language from evolving. As a consequence, French has been dropped a long time ago as a vehicle for writing about science. English, not having any Academy to impede changes, evolves faster. This evolution is what gets some of my friends going. A large number of them condemn the use of "youse", which is spreading in Australia. They see it as a lower level of speech (even if what it actually does is fill a vacuum: there is no difference between you (singular) and you (plural) in English). This came up at the office last week, which made me realise that we all have our language use pet hates. One of my colleagues can't stand the dropping of the apostrophe which happens more and more often in everyday Australian. Another one confessed that she hates the increasing use of the word "awesome". "It's American," she says, "it's terrible." I have to admit she lost me here. I cannot agree with her about the fact that saying "awesome" means the end of our Australian culture. True, language and culture are intrinsically linked and influence each other, but isn't that a positive? Don't we want to evolve and adapt to our linguistic world? Try to write a review of "Twilight" in Latin, and you will understand what I mean. I've only got one word to say to you: awesome!


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More Blogs by Jerome Parisse
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• The Wings of Leo Spencer at $10 only! - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
• Boracay, twenty years later - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Hereafter - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Gone (Mo Hayder) - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
• Free e-books until 6 February! - Monday, January 31, 2011
• Two Brothers - Sunday, January 30, 2011
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• 3 e-books for free until 6 January! - Thursday, January 20, 2011
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The Red Pen by Christina Neely

Samantha is a unique artist only using red ink in her drawings. She comes across a red feather pen enchanted never to run out of ink but she soon discovers that the drawings create..  
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