Daily Archives: July 22, 2011



This annoying word has worked its way into American speaking-English like a cancer. It began in the 1980s with the "Valley Girls" culture displayed on network television programs. "Valley" refers to the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles, and close to Hollywood — ripe for satirizing.


Anyone who talks like this gets slotted into my file as an AIRHEAD…ditzy, shallow, and too lazy to use good English. 


Wikipedia has this salient information to contribute:  


Valley Girl (or Val, Val Gal) is a stereotype leveled at a socio-economic and ethnic class of American women who can be described as colloquial English-speaking, materialistic, self-centered, hedonistic, and often sexually promiscuous. Valspeak is also a form of this trait, based on an exaggerated version of '80s California English.

The term originally referred to the ever increasing number of semi-affluent and affluent middle-class and upper-middle class girls living in the bedroom community neighborhoods of San Fernando Valley.[1] Due to the Valley's proximity to the Hollywood media machine, the demographic group which the term stereotyped garnered large exposure to the rest of the world. Consequently, the use became more general, and the stereotype can be found all over the United States, and also in other countries in different forms. During the 1980s and 1990s, in common with the trend in community orientation, interest, and education, the term metamorphosed into a caricature and stereotype of such women: a "ditzy" or "airhead" personality, and unapologetically "spoiled" behavior that showed more interest in shopping, personal appearance and social status than in intellectual development or personal accomplishment.


Once again, Hollywood comedy efforts have left a big stain on our language.

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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized




Diminution is a noun meaning a reduction in the size, extent, or importance of something : a permanent diminution in value 


This word is so often mispronounced, most recently Thursday night by Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor, on the Charlie Rose show. The mispronunciation is always "dimUnition" rather than "diminUtion".


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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


Not Paid to Talk

Today I received a comment about my "Standard Sports Interview" post. It said, "They're not paid to talk."

Wrong!  These professional athletes are obligated to talk to the media; it's in the contracts. They're not doing it because they're such good guys. Hence, if their primary language is English, they should do their professional best to sound smart to an English-speaking fanbase. This isn't an unusual expectation; it's what should be expected of any American with a high school education.


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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized




The word "just" has several meanings, but it has become a cancer among cooking-show presenters. For them, it seems that it's a way to convince their viewers that something is so simple and easy to do.


Try watching episodes of cooking shows like "Alex's Day Off," "Barefoot Contessa," and "Mad Hungry". Count the number of times each of the hosts tells you to "just…". It's annoying. You can't count that high. It's as if they don't have many more words in their vocabulary. Sure, "just" jump over the moon; it's a piece of cake.


But for others, it refers to something that recently happened…just married, just opened, just started, etc. Does "just married" mean that it was easy, so everybody should do it?


It also refers to justice…a just decision, for instance. Or for a policeman questioning a suspect or "person of interest" in the old "Dragnet" television series…just tell me the facts.


"Just" is also a key element in the Nike advertising campaign "Just Do It," probably encouraging people to go ahead and extend themselves…it's worth the effort, it's easy, no big deal.

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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized