Saturday, February 18, 2006

To podium or not to podium

Apparently podiuming is when you medal in the Olympics. When you medal you get to stand on the podium. It is understandable, but you have taken a noun (podium or medal) and turned it into a verb. This is how new words get created in English (weblog, blog, blogging), but some folks find it objectionable. It is called verbing.

This quote from Calvin and Hobbes, "Verbing weirds language" inspired a further observation -
"It's not the verbing that weirds language so much, but rather, the renounification."
Verbing podium deserves odium in some quarters because it has three syllables and sounds clunky. I personally take umbrage at corporate speak where nouns are verbed to sound smart, but it doesn't work. I don't dialogue, for instance, I talk. The exception to this one is leverage, I can't think of another word that clearly means "use the same resources or knowledge across several projects to save time and money", as succinctly as leverage does.

The great thing about the English language, is that it isn't static, it can grow and take in new concepts. It is a language for the future. So, I will take the bad with the good on this one.

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