Friday, August 24, 2012

Language Log » One little adjective

More on data quality in the public sphere. A shame here is that even those who have the rhetorical wherewithal to create nuanced criticism can opt for sound-bite-ready snarkiness instead. Our friends at language log illuminate and clarify once again:

But in the meantime, a warning to candidates for elective office: watch every word, every little attributive adjective. You may not have meant it the way it sounds; they may not even believe you meant it; but if you utter even a two-word phrase that sounds outrageous, that'll be enough rope for them to hang you with. They are playing linguistic Gotcha, and the game is deadly serious, and losers don't get elected. Be careful out there. Get your adjectives checked out by a linguist up front. And stay away from TV studios if you aren't a master of on-the-fly self-editing.

Language Log » One little adjective

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