Tuesday, April 5, 2005


I'm all for more non-English influence on our modern English. Non-English words help make English more diverse, which I think is a good thing. I won't get into it now, but I think common languages are extremely important when it comes to international relations. So the more people speaking the same language, the less divided our society will be. Of course, I would *never* want the government to impose an official language (or even several official languages).

Anyway, there are some non-English phrases that I'm starting to get sick of. The current phrase of most annoyance for me is "vis-a-vis." I heard Bill O'Reilly use it twice last night, and today on NPR I heard an Iranian-American journalist (I can't remember her name, so I'm pointing out her ethnicity simply because she was giving a talk about Iranian and American cultures) use it at least twice. That's four times in two days.

Vis-a-vis...it just sounds so pretentious. Why not just say, "With respect to," or, sometimes, "compared to?"

"Well, Chauncy, you know,I think the European position vis-a-vis Turkish immigration leaves much to be desired, don't you darling? Yes, of course..."

Plus, Vis-a-vis is a brand of markers for writing on transparencies.

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