Monday, April 28, 2008

So I was looking at Big Think. There was an entry of the day about Educating the Masses,
Making American Students Competitive in a Global Economy by John McCain. Here's how it reads:

In addition to fixing up the No Child Left Behind Act, Senator John McCain has some other ideas for helping American students get ahead:

"I think also we have to think about incentivizing (my bold) math, science and engineering students, because that's the need for the future economy of this country and we have a real shortage of 'em. I'd like to make education affordable and available to every single American. I'm not saying that they'd have to receive that education; but at least it would be available and affordable, and we're a ways from that. But it would start with telling math, science and engineering students that we're gonna do everything we can to make sure they receive an education in those specialties, and then broaden it out into every other."
Incentivise? Huh? Is that really a word? I guess it's as good as 'em for them and gonna for going to and starting a sentence with But. (Remember when that wasn't allowed?) But incentivise. I just had to look that one up and found the following on iFractal:
Unfortunate coinages are turning up like bad pennies. And we seem to be making up words at an alarming rate.

“In the same way that people in social groups tend to wear similar clothes, people create slang and new words to show that they’re all part of the same group, ” says Grammar Girl. It’s about group identity.

Can You Incentivize Someone?
My introduction to business slang was in MBA school. My classmates started saying “incentivize” to mean “motivate.” They thought it sounded cool. I had a real aversion to the made-up word. Much to my dismay, incentivize seems to have made it into popular use. I find motivate to be infinitely cleaner. In fact, I’m committed to never using incentivize in any written piece again.

Is It Wrong to Verbify?
Is it wrong to create a verb from a noun, adjective, or other word? Is it wrong to verbify? Grammar Girl says she doesn’t object to verbifications (more slang) when they’re smoother to write and they allow for cleaner sentences. In fact, I just penciled in my edits.

Is Verbification an Internet Phenomenon?
I’m not exactly blaming the Internet for another social ill. I’m just noting that there’s a rapid explosion of business slang that is related to Internet products. You know you hit it big when the name of your product becomes the generic verb for doing something. Right Google? Googling, twittering, digging – I’m even used to slashdotting. They all sound fine to me. I’m not so wild about facebooking – maybe verbification is something to think about when naming your next start-up.
I looked up Judification on Grammar Girl - Your search for judification produced 0 results.

Ah, give it time. Urban Dictionary, here I come.

1 comment:

Betty said...

When I was working, I was always confused by the theory that we were all working together to "grow" the company. I had a mental image of all the women in the office, watering cans at the ready, sprinkling the managers on a daily or weekly basis.