AirTalk for December 12, 2011

Which words should be banished?

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The New Oxford American Dictionary named 'unfriend' -- as in deleting someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook -- its word of the year in 2009. Which words should never find a place in the dictionary?

Sarah Palin may stand by "refudiate," but wordsmiths the world over say its use should be repudiated – no matter how "viral" it went. In fact, that made-up word landed on the 2011 List of Banished Words, compiled annually by Lake Superior State University.

"Googling" last year's list reveals other linguistic pet peeves such as "epic," "fail" and "Facebooking." Now, LSSU is accepting new nominations for words and phrases that deserve to be "Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness."

The "back story" on LSSU's popular list began in 1976, when former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe – father of KPCC's OffRamp host John Rabe – and a group of friends contributed a few expressions they couldn't stand, thereby forming the inaugural list of linguistic shame. After that, the nominations stacked up and Rabe's group, known as "The Unicorn Hunters," had plenty of fodder for future lists.

Thomas Pink, who took over responsibility for the list as new public relations director, said that so far this year, "amazing" has topped other words as most submitted. "It kind of surprised us that it hadn’t made the list in the past, because it's certainly been around a lot," he said.

Many phrases that peeved listeners were ones perhaps unintentionally tacked on to sentences, such as "he/she was like" in place of "he/she said," and "you know." Tom from North Hollywood spoke on air, noting that "you know" had "already been used by several of the people calling in."

Certain words, such as "irregardless," become so commonplace that officials eventually give in and add them to dictionaries. Pink said that "it seems to happen over the years."

So far this year, the nominations include "not gonna lie," "man cave" and "Californicate."

WEIGH IN:

Are there other nonsensical, annoying, or fake political words you'd love to see banned? The deadline to submit them to LSSU for consideration is Dec.15. "Irregardless," AirTalk wants to hear from you today. So "man up" cats and kitties, and share your favorite hated words or phrases right now. "Anchor-babies" anyone? "Just sayin'."

Guest:

Thomas Pink, Director of Public Relations for Lake Superior State University, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan; LSSU compiles the Banished Words List every year


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