Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Joy Of Binary Language

English: KitKat chunky. Fran├žais : Barre de Ki...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've come to call it binary language - the American-inspired habit of simplifying language to the point where the world is either ordinary or awesome. We have now added another layer to this minimalist interpretation of life, the universe and everything, because, well, sometimes things are more awesome than just awesome. Sometimes they're super-awesome.

So, like, a Kit Kat is awesome but a Kit Kat stuck in a Mr Whippy ice-cream like a double 99 is super-awesome. If you want to add emphasis you can call it so super-awesome. The longer the so, the more emphasis is given. When you get to the stage when the so is so long you haven't got enough breath to keep the o (which is actually a w disguised as an o) going, you can take it to the next level - if you replace the Kit Kat with, like, a flake, well dude, that is like hyper-awesome. Logically, therefore, if you sprinkle cocaine on it, it would be uber-awesome.

It's like a form of crowd-sourced Esperanto - a reduction of language to simplicities that render it universally accessible, created by the community for the community. We can now communicate rich landscapes of human emotional reaction just by the addition of these simple qualifiers. So I'm pissed you burned down my house, but if you burned it down and my insurance had lapsed, I'd be super-pissed. There's no doubting you'd mistake quite how pissed I am, man.

We can also add some neat monosyllabic emotional indicators to this rich soup of neo-English. Yew, for instance to denote disgust, wow to denote amazement or delight and aww to denote disappointment. There's no doubting that 'Yew, that was so super-gross' is a clear statement of absolute disgust and it does neatly circumvent any need for using a wider vocabulary to communicate the sentiment or its strength. In fact, with an almost complete lack of vocabulary, most states of the human condition are now not only neatly within the reach of expression of anyone with the intelligence of a mildly retarded mongoose, they are also within the range of comprehension of such a mongoose.

The mongeeses will undoubtedly inherit the earth. Super-soon.

And yes, thank you, I do feel better now.


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10 comments:

Dave Edwards said...

A pedant would point out that the plural of mongoose is mongooses not mongeese, the words mongoose and goose having quite separate origins. Not me, you understand, a pedant.

Alexander McNabb said...

You are mostly right, Dave, although Merriam Webster also cites mongeese. So to be super-sure, I added a nice pluralistic S to make it mongeeses.

Macthomson said...

Yew, McNabb in super-spittle-flecked-rant mode is invariably entertaining.

Dave Edwards said...

Merriam Webster? The day I start taking spelling advice from Americans is the day I'll give up linguistic pedantry for good! (No offence to American readers...)

Dave Edwards said...

...and start describing things as "super-wow".

longhornsandcamels said...

Why put down Americans and then say "oh, but no offense" - just own it, it seems to be the en vogue thing to do anyway

Luke said...

1. For the real definition of "awesome" please see Eddie Izzard's take on its overuse: http://youtu.be/0rYT0YvQ3hs

2. Totally agree with longhornscamel. If you have an opinion, say it and stick to it. What is so wrong with offending people anyway? Ultimately, it's up to them to decide whether to take offence or not. I can't think of anything that would offend me. Can you?

Alexander McNabb said...

I didn't say 'oh and no offence'. You are perfectly at liberty to be offended.

Luke said...

longhornsandcamels was referring to the comment by Dave Edwards.

Alexander McNabb said...

Ah, I sees.

Particularly stupid today. Remarkably, it is possible to be stupider than my normal level of stupid.

Anyway, you're still all free to get offended. Although Luke has a point - being offended is SUCH a waste of time...

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