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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Steve Shaw 09 Dec 20 - 09:15 AM
Lighter 09 Dec 20 - 07:26 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Dec 20 - 07:26 AM
Jos 09 Dec 20 - 07:08 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 20 - 07:01 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 20 - 06:58 AM
Jos 09 Dec 20 - 06:49 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Dec 20 - 06:48 AM
Backwoodsman 09 Dec 20 - 03:07 AM
Gibb Sahib 09 Dec 20 - 01:56 AM
Mrrzy 08 Dec 20 - 09:29 PM
Doug Chadwick 08 Dec 20 - 07:36 PM
Mrrzy 08 Dec 20 - 01:16 PM
meself 08 Dec 20 - 12:41 PM
Lighter 08 Dec 20 - 11:50 AM
Raedwulf 08 Dec 20 - 09:26 AM
Mrrzy 08 Dec 20 - 09:25 AM
Lighter 08 Dec 20 - 08:40 AM
Lighter 08 Dec 20 - 08:01 AM
Jos 08 Dec 20 - 06:15 AM
Gibb Sahib 08 Dec 20 - 02:26 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Dec 20 - 08:41 PM
Lighter 07 Dec 20 - 05:49 PM
Mrrzy 07 Dec 20 - 12:00 PM
Jos 07 Dec 20 - 11:01 AM
Lighter 07 Dec 20 - 09:49 AM
Lighter 07 Dec 20 - 09:39 AM
Jos 07 Dec 20 - 09:16 AM
Jos 07 Dec 20 - 09:07 AM
Doug Chadwick 07 Dec 20 - 09:01 AM
Mrrzy 07 Dec 20 - 08:30 AM
G-Force 07 Dec 20 - 07:49 AM
Mrrzy 06 Dec 20 - 09:41 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Dec 20 - 09:23 PM
Lighter 06 Dec 20 - 06:42 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Dec 20 - 04:57 PM
Jos 06 Dec 20 - 04:03 PM
Lighter 06 Dec 20 - 03:34 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM
Nigel Parsons 06 Dec 20 - 02:42 PM
leeneia 06 Dec 20 - 02:35 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Dec 20 - 12:43 PM
Nigel Parsons 06 Dec 20 - 10:34 AM
Doug Chadwick 06 Dec 20 - 04:40 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Dec 20 - 07:38 PM
Jos 05 Dec 20 - 05:17 PM
meself 05 Dec 20 - 04:08 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Dec 20 - 03:59 PM
Mrrzy 05 Dec 20 - 01:56 PM
leeneia 05 Dec 20 - 01:26 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 09:15 AM

Heheh, I like that one, Jos. And apology accepted!

Personally, I have to hand a big box of ping pong balls ready to chuck at the telly every time I hear a politician say "...going forward." And what about yanks who end a sentence with "...if you will"? I mean, how bloody daft is that! And doesn't Boris get on yer tits every time he describes something that is, at best, a mild positive as "fantastic"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:26 AM

We got people in Detroit and Chicago that almost say "black" for "block" and "boss" for "bus."

Scary, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:26 AM

...and my old (Texan) boss, when I worked for a Houston TX -based company, used to amuse me when he asked me to review a set of accounts and investigate s’nificant movements and differences.

He also used to refer to my company car, a Peugeot, as a ‘Pew-go’. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:08 AM

I do apologise, Steve.
(But I think maybe they do it in the Midlands as well.)

As for your favourite sloppinesses, I rather like "plittickle snario".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 07:01 AM

Now just watch yerself there, Jos. I will NOT be called a Midlander. That would be as grievous as calling me a Y*rkshireman...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:58 AM

My favourite TV/radio announcer sloppinesses are "deteriate," "priminister" and "seckertry." Many years ago, when Sir Francis Chichester was doing his round-the-world stuff, we often smirked when the plummy-voiced newsreaders of the time regaled us with "S'Frornsus Chishhter..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:49 AM

Isn't the 'buzz' for 'bus' and 'uzz' for 'us' just a Midlands accent?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 06:48 AM

"Buzz" is what we called a bus in Radcliffe in my childhood. Any other pronunciation would have had you branded a posh snob. If you didn't want to get the Ribble buzz to Blackpool you could always go on Mills and Seddon's sharrer...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 03:07 AM

Currently, on Zo-Bo’s Breakfast Show, followed by Ken Bruce’s show (BBC Radio 2) I’m being driven nuts by some twerp called Richie Anderson, who does the travel announcements, pronouncing ‘st’ with an ‘h’ - so, ‘street’ becomes ‘shtreet’, ‘student’ is pronounced ‘shtudent’, etc. This sloppiness seems to be a creeping affectation amongst BBC presenters.

But good old Richie’s Coup de Grâce (that’s ‘coo der grass’, Mrrzy, not ‘coop di grayce’) is to pronounce ‘bus’ as ‘buzz’ - so “The 08:37 train from Lincoln Central to Sheffield is cancelled and has been replaced by a buzz service”.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Dec 20 - 01:56 AM

Wow, some people thought I was prescribing how you should say things? huh?

I made two points.
1) It was pointed out that some people seem to be pronouncing "Himalayas" in (as I read it to be implied) either an odd or incorrect way. I pointed out that that is in fact the proper way. The point is, therefore, that one might accept that way as equally good as how *you* pronounce it. And I opine that maybe more people are catching on to the correct way, as general knowledge proliferates — as, for example, English speakers at the home office come into direct contact with the colonial, not just see their words written. Not that the correct native way is how you must pronounce it, and certainly not to imply some grander recommendation that you must endeavor to pronounce all foreign words as they are in the foreign language. Sheesh.

2) The Cantonese example, a peeve (isn't that what this thread is about, peeves?), is that the Britishers needlessly rendered an English spelling that isn't helpful at all, including *to English speakers.* A simple English phonetic rendering of "ha," "haa", or "hah" would have sufficed for the Cantonese word for "shrimp" (for example). Yet we've ended up with "har". It's just silly and misleading. Whom does this spelling help to pronounce the word? (I ask this not rhetorically, but as a sincere question.) It's a peeve and a curiosity. Again, not a prescription for ordinary people to be super linguists with the mastery or the orthography of every language.

Differences will exist. Accidental butchering happens. Yeah, no big deal. It hurts no one, however, to attempt to butcher less -- or rather, no one gains by butchering more. If you were pronouncing Paris as "Pariz" and someone one told you, "Dude, actually it's Paris," I should think you'd say "OK, cool, I'll try that!" Or, 'hmm, interesting. I wonder where I got Pariz from." Rather than "Oh well how can you expect me to be perfect? And how dare you question my Englishman's right to pronounce however I feel like!" Just take the info, move on, and next time you're with Indians or ordering at a Chinese restaurant you might just find people appreciate your knowledge. And don't worry, your English friends won't think you're a pretentious homosexual or less of a true blue Englishman for "kowtowing" to bloody foreigners ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:29 PM

The locals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 07:36 PM

I am old and pronounce things in English when speaking English.

One area of Grimsby, England, is written, for the most part, as Scartho but it is carved in stone on the church hall as Scarthoe. Some people living in the area call it "Scartho" while the rest call it "Scather". As most of these people are English, who would you suggest is right and who is wrong?

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 01:16 PM

Snicker, Raedwulf.

I wish the people reporting on those weird metal structures put together of several parts would stop referring to them as monoliths. They are not unitary, nor are they stone.

I wish BBC would stop calling the new vaccine Completely Tested.

And I am not sure it would be nice if the dialects of English spoken around the world were called something other than English. Unification > division.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 12:41 PM

How much time of our lifespan should we devote to learning the 'correct' native pronunciation of every foreign word we might find ourselves inclined or required to utter? You know, my parents had a lot on their plates - I can't fault them for neglecting to learn and pass on the 'correct' pronunciation of 'Himalayas' ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 11:50 AM

Hi, Gibb.

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh (1926):

"He's Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don't you know what 'ther' means?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Raedwulf
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:26 AM

I am old and pronounce things in English when speaking English.

You do? I've already been corrected for getting your gender wrong, don't tell me you're English as well? I thought you were a Yank!* ;-)







* In which case, you don't speak English. So there! ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 09:25 AM

Belgium spells in Flemish and French, and they are different. No problems there.

Also to my mind there is no incorrect spelling when rendering foreign words from other writing systems into English or French. So Qadafi quadaffi ghadaffi arguments... irrelevant when the "correct" spelling us squiggle dot backwards anyway.

And if there is no correct *spelling* as the original language is pictographic anyway I worry even less. The whole point of a pictophraphic writing system is that it is divorced from pronunciation. That is why for Chinese, for instance, no matter what language you *speak* - Cantonese, Mandarin - you all *write* the different words for, say, dog chien Hunt kutya, the same. Mutually incomprehensible *spoken* languages share the same *written* language. Arguing about how to write all those pronunciations in English is, to me, well, silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 08:40 AM

"Gay Paree" was a cliche' back in the days when "gay" was expected to have its earlier meaning.

Dallas Morning News (DEc. 7, 1885), . 3:

"If you seek that Gay Paree,
Board that ship upon the sea."


Oregonian (Portland) (Sep. 10, 1998), p.54:

"The...gleaming gay Paree of the 1930s."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 08:01 AM

Both are acceptable according to Merriam-Webster (US) and Collins (UK), but I knew "fora" would drive at least one person krazy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 06:15 AM

Fair enough. But I don't think calling Paris 'Paree' will catch on for a while. At least not while speaking English, even though Lyon has taken over from 'Lyons'.
And I am not expecting the French to stop calling London 'Londres' any time soon.
I should add that I have no problem with 'Londres'.

And what of all those Flemish towns with two spellings and pronunciations, such as Bruges/Brugge?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Dec 20 - 02:26 AM

"HimALyuz" is the proper South Asian (Hindi etc.) pronunciation / the pronunciation of the people who live near/in Himal(a)ya, so perhaps people are starting to actually listen to how foreign words are said, rather than looking at a spelling in Roman character and making it up.

(The first "a" is long and like in "father," the second is a short schwa, like in "about." There being no schwa symbol in the standard Latin alphabet, both, very different vowels have been doomed to be represented with "a," or else the latter is written with "u" [cf. "Punjab"] and causes other problems. None of these vowels are foreign to English, however, so it's just a matter of spelling, and pronouncing from spelling without listening, that screws things up. No language training, just listening is all it takes.)

My peeve is the spellings of familiar Cantonese items like the foods haa gaau ?? (shrimp dumpling) and caa siu ?? (BBQ pork). A casual "phonetic" rendering might give "ha gow" and "cha siu."

But more often than not one sees "har gow" and "char siu." I assume the British in Hong Kong / Canton stuck an "r" in there -- though there is no R sound in the Cantonese language -- as one of those "silent Rs."

But if so, being a foreign word, why add it at all? What do Britons with a non-rhotic accent get out of "har" rather than "ha" or "haa"? And, as a result, everyone else in the world seeing the words in Roman character has now to assume there is some functional R in there, and we sound ridiculous ordering dim sam saying "harrr gow" etc.!

See also "Burma" / "Myanmar."

It's a wonder we don't spell India as "Indier"...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 08:41 PM

But you just said fora, Lighter. Fer chrissake, it's forums, and you know it...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 05:49 PM

I forgot "HimaLAYaz" switching to "HimALyuz" and back again.

By "everyone," I mean seemingly everyone who had or has occasion to use these words in public fora in the U.S. But maybe the flip-flop is just confirmation bias, and all these pronunciations have long coexisted.

I've never changed. I have bigger things to worry about than how other people pronounce a few words.

As long as I know what they're talking about, I'm fine.

If I don't, I ask.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 12:00 PM

I am old and pronounce things in English when speaking English. I say noter daym not notra dahm when referring to the Parisian cathedral. I pronounce it in French when speaking French. And so on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 11:01 AM

"Then everyone switched to "HiROshima" and "CaRIBbean."

I assume you are talking about "everyone" where you live.
Where I live, or at least among the people I live with, "HiROshima" and "CaribBEan" have remained unchanged, along with the "HimaLAYas" rather than the "HimAHHlias".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 09:49 AM

In the '50s, one said "HiroSHEEma" and "CaribBEan."

Then everyone switched to "HiROshima" and "CaRIBbean."

Later they switched back.

Albany, N.Y., is "AWLbunee."

Albany, Ga., is "ALbunee."

The Arkansas River is the "ARkinsaw" in Arkansas.

In Kansas and Colorado it's "ArKANziss."

Mildly diverting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 09:39 AM

> please stop using 'gridlock' to mean any old traffic congestion.

Hyperbole. The Greeks used it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 09:16 AM

The BBC used to have a Pronunciation Unit that ensured that news readers knew how to pronounce things like foreign words and names correctly.
I knew things had gone wrong when announcers were struggling to say MaastrICKT instead of MAAstricht.
Then it occurred to me that they had been instructed to say '...icht' (with the ch as in loch) rather than '...ickt', and had misinterpreted the instruction as referring to the stress instead of the consonants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 09:07 AM

I would have expected "Don't Block The Box" to mean "Don't censor television".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 09:01 AM

The best authority is wot people actually say or write

That would be OK if it was said as it was written. Unfortunately what is often said is "The best authori'y is wo' people actually say or wri'e"

If it was limited to teenagers chatting informally with their friends then I could ignore it but my 35 year old, well educated daughter seems to use only 25 letters of the alphabet in coversation. It can be heard more and more from TV continuity announcers. I find it most annoying.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 08:30 AM

There are incomprehensible signs in DC that say Don't Block The Box that I think refer to actual gridlock.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: G-Force
Date: 07 Dec 20 - 07:49 AM

Gridlock. Will people, especially young journalists on TV and radio, please stop using 'gridlock' to mean any old traffic congestion. It has a very specific meaning. I heard recently that the M4 was supposedly gridlocked. How can a 100-mile long straight line motorway be gridlocked?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 09:41 PM

Another new one, from a letter to wjat I have read are called agony aunts, which is superb:
[Embedded in a litany of complaints] ...he had granchildren out of wedlock...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 09:23 PM

Generally speaking, authorities on the English language are self-appointed. The best authority is wot people actually say or write. That isn't to say that there aren't many ignoramuses. English is an amazingly unfettered language both in writing and, more especially, in speech. We should celebrate that. However, and this is very much my personal view, we should always be vigilant in never allowing degradation of nuance to pass. There really IS a useful difference between disinterested and uninterested, and we should fight to maintain that difference. Alternate and alternative are not words that can be used interchangeably. It's VACCine, never vaccINE. Stuff like that. There's definitely a fight to be had, but not against misuse of apostrophes or typos or dodgy spelling. It's usually against pretentiousness or jargonistic bullshit. .


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 06:42 PM

> reliable authorities on the use of the English language.

And who is that authority, pray tell?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 04:57 PM

He's merely reflecting modern usage, Jos (though I dunno what "unintentionally" is supposed to mean, and he's got hold of the wrong end of the stick in any case).

Here's unpretentious: "Arsenal's recent poor form raises the question as to whether they should strengthen their attack."

Here's pretentious: "Arsenal's recent poor form begs the question as to whether they should strengthen their attack."

Now why would any rational person use the latter construction? It's right up there with saying "albeit" instead of "though" or "prior to" instead of "before." Frankly, such things are not big and they're not clever...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 04:03 PM

I wouldn't necessarily regard cable and broadcast networks, in America or elsewhere, as reliable authorities on the use of the English language.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 03:34 PM

Nowadays to "beg the question" almost exclusively means to "unintentionally raise a question that should be answered."

At least on *all* American cable and broadcast news networks, including NPR.

Daily.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 02:46 PM

As I said, your first meaning is modern.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 02:42 PM

Steve:
It could be that "beg the question" comes from "beggar the question,"
If the origin of the phrase is uncertain, it could just as easily come from "begets the question" which would agree with the first meaning I gave.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 02:35 PM

When the meaning of a term becomes seriously muddied in common parlance, I stop using it. 'Begs the question' is such a term. 'Comprise' is another. English is so rich and adaptable that we don't have to use unclear language.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 12:43 PM

The second of your meanings is closer to the original meaning. Begging the question in that sense involves unjustifiably claiming, via faulty, circular reasoning, that the conclusion is true (though, of course, it may well be). The first of your meanings is a modern, regrettable, phenomenon. It could be that "beg the question" comes from "beggar the question," which means to render the question pointless as the conclusion (the answer to the question) has already been assumed via faulty reasoning to be true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 10:34 AM

"Beg the question" as I have heard it means that one question, or answer, immediately raises another which should (possibly) have been dealt with first.
This is the same (prime) meaning which the online Cambridge dictionary gives:

beg the question

If a statement or situation begs the question, it causes you to ask a particular question:
Spending the summer travelling around India is a great idea, but it does beg the question of how we can afford it.
To discuss the company's future begs the question of whether it has a future.

It also gives a secondary meaning:
to talk about something as if it were true, even though it may not be

So although comments about "talking about something as if it were true" may describe the situation in which someone then uses the phrase, the person using the phrase is pointing out that there is an underlying question which also needs to be answered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 06 Dec 20 - 04:40 AM

.....how can a *movie* have a guest star?

Could it be someone who is well known but contracted to a different studio. A commercial arrangement may have been made for this production only?

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 07:38 PM

I still fight that one, Jos. Not because I think I can win it back, but because the people who use it when they mean "raise the question" are just pretentious and pig ignorant! !


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 05:17 PM

I'm still a lone voice fighting the 'begging the question' battle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 04:08 PM

"Meself, whatever people are saying, "on behalf of" means for the benefit of, or in the place of." ... um .... Why are you telling me that? Was there something I said that led you to believe I was unaware of that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 03:59 PM

Begging the question in its original meaning refers to a circular argument, one in which the conclusion is assumed to be true even before the question is asked, thus: "God exists because it says so in the Bible. And the Bible is the word of God." Petitio principii, an informal logical fallacy. Unfortunately, you'll raise an eyebrow these days if you use the expression in that way. Today, most people use it pretentiously to mean raising the question, to the extent that this degraded usage is now standard English. A battle lost.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 01:56 PM

Doug Chadwick no, it was just a movie. Weird, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Dec 20 - 01:26 PM

"Begs the question." I looked it up.
==========
Begging the question means "to elicit a specific question as a reaction or response," and can often be replaced with "a question that begs to be answered." However, a lesser used and more formal definition is "to ignore a question under the assumption it has already been answered." The phrase itself comes from a translation of an Aristotelian phrase rendered as "beg the question" but meaning "assume the conclusion."
===========
Hmm. All this time I thought "beg the question" meant "ignore the question." Now I see that the phrase means so many different things that from now on I intend not to use it.


Meself, whatever people are saying, "on behalf of" means for the benefit of, or in the place of.


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