Why Do We Have To Have New Words When The Old Ones Are Fine?

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Tarser | 09:14 Fri 22nd May 2020 | Society & Culture
48 Answers
During the pandemic, we keep hearing of a 'Road Map' to return to normal life. We used to say 'strategy' or 'plan'. Why the change? What's wrong with the old words?

Schools used to have a 'Curriculum' but they now talk about 'Learning Journeys'. Everything seems to be 'journey' now. I've heard people talk about their 'illness journey'. No doubt they need a road map for all these journeys.

I can't see anything wrong with 'Personnel' but despise its replacement - 'Human Resources'. I suppose it's honest in admitting that's the only way employers think of their employees. The sweeper is the same thing as the broom to them.

For a few months now, people no longer say 'thank you for contacting us'. Instead it's 'Thank you for reaching out to us'. 'Reaching out'? It sounds like a toddler wanting to be picked up.

I can understand why some words have changed. Feminists didn't like 'Manpower' etc. - anything that seemed to exclude women, but I don't understand why perfectly good words are so regularly replaced with new words or new expressions that suddenly leap out at us and demand that we adapt. (OK, I admit it! I'm grumpy!)


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My children had a book split into 3s, heads, bodies and legs, they could make different funny people, an old man in a tutu wearing waders etc. We developed that into a conference-speak book, three sections to make meaningless sentences and the aim was to use as many of these trite sentences. Much more fun than the crossword sitting at the back! My road map is in...
10:47 Fri 22nd May 2020
You could have used 'irascible'. :-)
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Yes! I like that! Much more sophisticated!
Or curmudgeonly. That's better.
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I will be that and more when I'm asked to submit my 'Life Journey' instead of my CV....
So (see what I did there), terms like roadmaps, milestones, challenges (for problems), journey, development (for training)and going forwards were compulsory in HR and other business meetings when I worked 15-20 years ago (HR replaced Personnel there in 1985), and the politicians/commentators talked about Road Maps after the Iraq war, so I don't notice it- apart from 'ramped up' which seems to be everywhere. Language always has changed and always will.

Coleridge was happy with the way language was changing in the 19th century when he wrote
"I regret to see that vile and barbarous vocable talented stealing out of the newspapers into the leading reviews and most respectable publications of the day."
Imagine if we still wrote and spoke like that.
^ I meant to type "Coleridge was UNhappy..."
"Road" and "Map" are pretty old words.
All languages develop over time.Not always for the better.
my most enthusiastic contrafibularities:

These new words and phrases are called neologisms.
it's the ever evolving right on management BS speak, we used to play this in meetings:***/
Even back in the 1980s we used to play “Bollockspeak Bingo” during interminable meetings with HR - you got double points if they mentioned ‘Low Hanging Fruit’ ....
Snap TTT :)
the filter has mangled the link, try this:
I actually had some low hanging fruit, I hung a bunch of plastic fruit on one of the TV monitors! PMSL, happy days! Another colleague had an inflatable elephant!.
what was always hilarious though was the middle management cherry blossom mob, believed all that old pony!
I once got into trouble for failing to suppress a chortle when someone, in all seriousness, said

“They’re thin on the ground, at the top of the tree’, relatively speaking”
I remember it well, TTT. We played that too. 'Change' wasn't good enough- it had to be 'transformation' and 'reengineering'. Was Blue Sky thinking out of date when that bingo card was drawn up? Holistic was another one, and Step change - although that sounds more like a small step than a giant step
glad we touched base on that FF!
We used to run an idea up the flagpole and see if anyone saluted it. Apart from touching base we used ballpark estimates and long-grassed things (or put them on the back burner). We always had to get all our ducks in a row too.

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