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Ideas Factory: How do we fix misuse of the English language?

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This week in the Ideas Factory, Neil Mitchell is targeting the English language, and how we can change or improve it.

For example, Neil gets frustrated when people use the word ‘verse’ when they mean ‘compete against’.

But if it is broadly accepted and used that way, should it be considered correct?

Sue Butler, editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, has her own bugbear in the frequent misuse of apostrophes.

Ms Butler said it’s got to the point where the only solution is to do away with them entirely.

She said we could also get rid of the words ‘hoi polloi’ and ‘agreeance’, but suggested some new ones to introduce in their place:

  • Athleisure: sporty clothes you can wear to an evening party
  • Smashcake: a separate cake that a small child can have fun with on their birthday
  • The Barassi Line: the notional line separating the Aussie Rules-playing part of Australia from the rugby league part

3AW listeners had their own thoughts on parts of the language we are butchering.

One called wants to do away with Americanisms such as ‘buddy’, ‘candy’, and ‘cookie’.

Another lamented the mispronunciation of the word ‘vulnerable’. 

Click play for the full discussion