Friday, September 18, 2009

Words, words, words

Two usages I'd never heard before, both from a discussion of the weekend's new movies on "The Takeaway":

"Crux" as a verb, as in "The plot cruxes on ..."
"Redux" as a noun, as in "It's basically a redux of ..."

To clarify: Far as I can tell, the sky is not falling, the apocalypse is not nigh, and You Kids aren't Destroying the Language (though you should go ahead and get off the lawn, just on general principles). It's kind of cool that they came in close sequence, from two speakers* in a three-way conversation on a hip-n-edgy program, discussing the output of the cultural/geographic/linguistic part of the country that gave us STIX NIX HIX FLIX. But at bottom, it's just people doing routine stuff with language: banging parts of it together to make meaning.

Some of you Usual Suspects might be thinking of a particular Testy Copy Editor whose CAPS LOCK key goes into PAROXYSMS OF RAGE at the MEREST SIGHT of such a THING -- the underlying concern, apparently, being that any new usage immediately and completely shatters an established usage, thereby not only opening the gate to the barbarians but asking them to mix the drinks while we check on how dinner's coming. Please return knickers to original untwisted position. The Language of Shakespeare is going to be all right. Three people on a radio program can't break it. It's unlikely that they'll even scratch the paint.

* One might have been the host, but I'm not sure. I'll see if there's a transcript later (and rectify the example sentences if so).


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