Belinda Jargon
SICKLY: The words which leave a sour taste on the tongue

THIS month I’m ‘opening the kimono’ about my pet hate – people whose ‘narrative’ is peppered with buzzwords.

It may be state of the art and all that jazz but I am not loving the aesthetic and the bottom line is, I am no longer singing from the same hymn sheet as the rest of modern society. 

Call me carbon-dated but I’ll never be able to get on the front foot with all the fancy phrases trotted off the tongues of today’s ‘influencers’.

They call it ‘disruptive’, I call it gobbledygook. 

I have zero synergy with ‘blue sky’ and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

Spoken English has got to the stage where I no longer know where anyone’s ‘coming from’. Lapland or Botswana perhaps – it’s all Greek to me. 

Do you hear what I’m saying? Of course not, this isn’t a podcast!

Taking a holistic approach, I blame everyone – the Americans, marketing geeks, SMOCs (Social Media Obsessive Compulsives, pronounced ‘schmucks’). 

Having no monarch themselves, our friends across the Pond were never content to stick to ‘Queen’s English’, inventing ugly substitutes like bangs and fanny pack for hair fringe and bum bag.

And now, the effrontery of it, Donald Trump – the president with the vocabulary range of an embryo – has been allowed to add officially to the lexicon. ‘Fake news’, describing stories that say ‘very bad things’ about Donald Trump (IMHO) is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary.  

Some blame for the most irritating phrases in the English language date back to Ricky Gervais’ David Brent character in Noughties sitcom, The Office, which would now be called The Workplace.

‘The bard of Slough’, was a maestro of the mixed metaphor, expecting his staff to ‘run a few ideas up the flagpole’ while simultaneously ‘bedding them down’ in order to ‘fast-track a solution’ – and all before ‘doing lunch’. Shall I run that by you again? 

Had Shakespeare himself been around today, he would be having a Twelfth Nightmare trying to fit sayings like ‘the feel-good-factor’ into a rhyming couplet.

They say that half the world’s 6,700 languages will be extinct by the end of this century while Americanised English is putting paid to dialects which would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions or, in the modern vernacular, a right bummer.

But even in the best-case scenario, if I’m honest, the optics aren’t good and without an exit strategy it could be a no-win situation.  

All I ask is that next time you need to shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or get your ducks in a row, just keep it to yourself.  

Other phrases that don’t float my boat …

  • Reach Out – Please don’t. An email’s quite sufficient. We Brits don’t do touchy-feely with strangers
  • Giving 110% – No one can give more than 100% of themselves unless they have a clone 
  • It is what it is – Thanks! (Idiot) 
  • I hear what you’re saying – I’m just not listening 
  • Going forward – Can’t, my nose would hit the computer screen  
  • It’s not rocket science – How do you know? 
  • Pushing the envelope – I prefer a knife opener
  • The fact of the matter is – I’m just a long-winded, pompous twit
  • Let’s touch base – How very dare you!
  • He’s such a woke dude – He’s socially aware, even when asleep
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