Most Hated Words

Godzilla speaks

“Teh internetz” are not always the best friend of the English language. Not that I subscribe to the idea that all this chatting on forums is ruining the kids’ ability to use language – after all, a language is a living thing, and should be, needs to be, remoulded, reworked, and re-engergised on a daily basis – but the IT world throws up some really ugly words, just plain minging arrangements of letters that should never be displayed on screen, let alone spoken out loud.

Nate Anderson at Ars Technica has a brief post up about a YouGov survey of the most annoying words spawned by the web. These include folksonomy, vlog and webinar. Nate adds a few of his own linguistic nails-on-a-blackboard moments – including the terrible ‘crowdsourcing’ and ‘AJAXify’ (although I’d disagree with his inclusion of ‘podcast’.

There are a few words that are regularly used to pepper press releases for hardware products, and have the same effects as seasoning your chile con carne with horse manure. Here are the terms that deserve to be publicly shamed like a first-round failure on X-Factor:

1. Solutions.

As in… “AMD continues to deliver technology solutions that improve the way we live, work and play.”

No. Solutions don’t improve things, they solve problems. ‘4’ is the solution to 2+2. Ordering a pizza when you’ve got no food in the house and everyone is starving. These are solutions, because they address direct, easily quantifiable problems.

2. Platform.

As in… “Creative is now driving digital entertainment on the PC platform with products like its highly acclaimed ZEN™ portable audio and media players.”

Nope. A platform is a place which trains arrive late to. Why even use the word ‘platform’ here?

3. Extreme.

As in… “NVIDIA’s GigaThread Technology, which, through the use of a massively multi-threaded architecture, is able to create thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency for advanced, next generation shader programs.”

Nein. Forty degrees below zero. Fans of Adolf Hitler. Stoning people to death for stealing. These are extreme.

But the worst offender has to be…

4. Functionality.

As in… “Consumers today are demanding higher standards of digital entertainment experiences that enhance the very personal environments of their home,” said Satjiv S. Chahil, senior vice president, global marketing, Personal Systems Group, HP. “HP designers have achieved a much needed balance of form and functionality that enriches the experience and ease of use of today’s personal technology.”

What’s wrong with ‘function(s)’? If adding -ality to a word automatically added 30% more professionalism and excitment to something, I’d work for a publication called Custom PCality. You’d be searching the web with Googleality and enthusing about your iPod and its iTunesality. But it’s not, and you don’t. People, let’s end the -ality now.

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