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Rosie's Score for 2002

Public officials continue to pronounce nuclear as nucular. Perhaps we will have to change the word to accommodate them? -4



The English language continues to be flexible and to adapt to new circumstances and ideas by inventing new words and phrases, e.g. fraudster (see articles about Cherie Blair and her dealings with a con man), and "Conflict diamond — noun, A diamond sold illicitly by groups opposed to internationally recognized governments and often used to finance military action against those governments." — Copy Editor August-September 2002

Michael Quinion of World Wide Words tells us that "The growth in English vocabulary in the past decade means many new words have been added [to the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary] (about 3,500 altogether). These are especially plentiful in politics, biotechnology, electronics, telecommunications and the Internet.

Some of these inventions will be permanent parts of our lexicon. +4



We seem to apply military terms to almost any activity, and in one awful case, to transfer a household term to armed conflict: "recipes for weapons" — heard on an NPR discussion of Iraq. Not very appetizing. -5



Young people continually use the word like in the nonstandard form. Such sentences as "He is like not interested in grammar." This may be just a verbal tic, but to David Isaacson writing in The Vocabula Review, it is a "verbal malaise," a sign that the speaker "is afraid of committing him or herself to a definite statement." -1



People care about language. There is a proliferation of columns, newsletters, books and Web sites that discuss the use of words. Rosie is enjoying Copy Editor newsletter, World Wide Words (www. worldwidewords.com), The Vocabula Review (www. vocabula.com), Verbatim journal, and she is longing for the new Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. +4



2002 Score: 0



Let Rosie hear from you by mail, Style Weekly, 1797 Summit Ave, Richmond, Va. 23230; by telephone, 358-0825; or by e-mail, repps@styleweekly.com
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