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Apr 8, 2013 12:16 PM

Cute Speak?

I am currently testing recipes for a forth coming book. Last night I was making a dish and photographing as I went along to send feedback to the author. In one sentence she said to "deploy" to the table.

When I sent my feedback to her suggesting "deploy" was not a good verb to use and suggested serve immediately or at once. She replied that it was what is now being used.

I'd like to know where all of this "cute speak" is coming from. In many ways the users sound illiterate. Take bone for instance, we use boning knives to bone meat. In cute speak it is now debone. Even spell check does not like debone. Are we next going to defeather birds instead of pluck? I know there are other constructs making it into food speak, but deploy to the table?!?

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  1. The English language is evolving so quickly I can hardly keep up. I know what you mean.

    35 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Doesn't "evolving" imply positive change?

      Just heard over the cube wall: "What do we need to do to progress this forward?"

      A verb is born.

      This has become so pervasive that we now call it "verbing".

      1. re: WNYamateur

        Philology is a wonderful thing. If you use the term positive as to a smarter, more complex organism than you should rethink your general idea about evolution. To keep this food related, the tapeworm is a highly evolved organism, but the term positive may be disagreed with.

        1. re: WNYamateur

          To progress forward is redundant - I'd veto that one. I'm still smarting over "offload", but language is not static. Unfortunately, in this era, neither are spelling, grammar, enunciation, or punctuation.

          1. re: greygarious

            "[L]anguage is not static."

            And, never has been, almost by definition.

            "Unfortunately, in this era, neither are spelling, grammar, enunciation, or punctuation."

            Actually, that long predates this era. Moreover, as I have espoused before, we are only a couple years way from simply using recorded voices to post on sites like these. MP3s are way easier than havin' folks type. Then, we'd actually hear everyone's voice, inflection, ad all.

            1. re: MGZ

              That would be awesome in so many ways.

              1. re: MGZ

                Prescription of language is a hard thing to propound: it necessarily has to be prescription of the language at some point in time, which arbitrarily concedes all of the development of the language prior to that point and refuses all development after it; where the more recent of the changes prior to the arbitrary point represent permissible departures from earlier rules, though departures from earlier rules are abhorred after the arbitrary point.

                Even 'Proper', 'Oxford' or 'Queen's' English is still a horrible (for the poor student) confusion of Germanic, Norman and Norse languages; no doubt many of the words and much of the grammar in proper modern English were considered radical or vulgar when they emerged.

                That said, I can't help feeling that the language has not advanced much since standardisation began, in two respects that would be fundamental if I were trying to design a language: its regularity and its capacity to express and communicate complex information. Much of the development seems to be not structural development of the language, but merely new nouns/verbs to describe new things/concepts (nonce words); or simply irregularities (for novelty or from ignorance) that don't actually improve the precision or communicative power of the language.

                It would be interesting to study the rate of change in the language, as used for serious, expressive writing; against the rate of change in it, as used in colloquy. My hunch is that the language has been relatively stagnant since standardisation at the high end, while speech has progressed a great deal, but as a kind of transient noise that doesn't really measurably increase the power of the language - full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing, so to speak.

                tl;dr ignorant, speculative ramblings.

              2. re: greygarious

                "[L]anguage is not static...."

                Depends on the language. English is very fluid. French, on the other hand, is not.

                1. re: ricepad

                  What are you basing that comment on? All languages evolve (or die, like Latin, and become other languages). Words are commonly being added in French, just like English. See, e.g.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Only that L'Académie française tends to be pretty conservative in their approach to the evolution of French.

                    1. re: ricepad

                      Academic presciptivism does not change the way real people communicate with one another, or the fact that new words are necessary to communicate new ideas, new things, or new actions. The L'Academie had no words for "nuclear bomb" in 1900, did they?

                      1. re: ricepad

                        L'Académie does continue to be pretty conservative.

                        French folks dans le rue, however, don't give a rat's ass what L'Académie says or does, and uses the language that serves their needs at the time.

                        Le week-end, anyone? How about getting a makeover and calling it a "relooking"? The whole kerfuffle about not using the word email, and that we should call it couriel (from "courier electronique")? Nah -- you m'envoyez un email. (you send me an email) or even just a mail.

                  2. re: greygarious

                    I expect "progress forward" will become "progress forward ahead" in the blink of an eye.

                    1. re: sr44

                      but can you reach out, be client-centric and implement best practices while you progress forward ahead?

                          1. re: meatn3

                            you need to incent your solution champions!

                          2. re: gourmanda

                            Yeahhhhhh, there's that.

                            We actually did play lingo bingo during one particularly offensive staff meeting. We were shocked at how fast someone one.

                            I'm usually the one who will eventually just ask the person to please tell me what the hell he/she intended to say in 10 words or less.

                            Or the classic "That sounded like English, but I have absolutely no idea what you just said. Could you translate that into words people actually use, please?"

                            1. re: gourmanda

                              "implement best practices" is one of my particular favorites. True business-speak.

                              1. re: missmasala

                                "best practices" is a useful term which is well understood by those who use it. If the man-on-the-street doesn't understand it, it doesn't matter.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  I'm not sure how it's different from "use the good vanilla."

                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                    "Use the good vanilla" is specific. A cook applying best (culinary) practices would be using the best ingredients everywhere.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      And there are some pretty bad vanillas on the market, especially imitation vanilla. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to use it.

                                      1. re: Candy

                                        Actually, pastry chefs I have worked with claim that imitation vanilla has a stronger flavor than regular, and prefer it. They haven't convinced me yet, but interesting to note.

                                      2. re: GH1618

                                        Well, they would be using the best ingredients *for that particular application*, which is an important distinction. You don't use the 80-year-old balsamic for the dressing.

                                    2. re: GH1618

                                      >>"best practices" is a useful term which is well understood by those who use it. If the man-on-the-street doesn't understand it, it doesn't matter.<<

                                      Very true about "best practices" and even "implement." For my sins, I edit and translate a lot of engineering stuff, much of it directed to Brussels, and I've long since resigned myself to that language because it certainly does have a point in its context. The trouble begins when it spills over into what should be pure civilian sermo quotidianus. Sometimes I catch myself sounding like an engineer in my own writing (or, worse, an Italian engineer), which is very disturbing.

                                      1. re: mbfant

                                        Just so you don't insist on being adressed as "Ingegnere" mbfant...

                                        Implement (verb) is a very useful term in its proper context.

                                      2. re: GH1618


                                        This woman-on-the-street fully understands the meaning of "best practices". That is not to say that someone who uses that phrase on a daily basis does not sound like a pretentious a**hole.

                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                          I agree that jargon should be used in its proper place. Whether it is used on a daily basis is another matter. To put it in the context of food, consider a restaurant inspector for the health department. He or she will want to know, every working day, whether kitchens are employing "best practices" to ensure food delivered to customers is safe. There is nothing pretentious about this.

                                  2. re: sr44

                                    And preventive became preventative and then prevententative.

                                  3. re: greygarious

                                    Offload is a commonly used term in the military, or was when I was in the US Navy in the early 70's. I just checked Random House and they date it to the 1840's. It does sound like a modern cute speak term, though.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      They use it in the trucking industry, when the truck's contents have to be transferred to another truck for some reason, for example if it breaks down. I bet it's a nautical term originally thought.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        It means unloading goods (or matériel) from a ship or truck. Once again, such terms of military or mercantile origin could make sense in terms of the complex and precise operations of a large professional kitchen, with a "brigade" that copies a military model. I googled "offload military" and found lots of examples of how offload is used as a military logistics term.

                                        Escoffier, who developed the kitchen brigade system, was indeed a former army chef.

                                        Really silly in a home, a little café etc.

                                2. Deploy seemed to go from usage in the military, to the tech world, and now I guess the professional kitchen. If the cookbook is written for the home cook, then it would be a poor, potentially confusing, choice of wording.

                                  If serving immediately is important for the quality of the dish, then just using the verb deploy doesn't convey that at all.

                                  Can you make a note for the editor?

                                  1. Sounds like the corporate speak I hear at work. I'm going to partner with and cascade the information going forward, etc, etc. Let's partner and or deploy, cascade some lunch into our gullets.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                      The synergy of those terms puts you ahead of demand. It's a win-win.

                                      1. re: gaffk

                                        At the end of the day, the writers of the new cookbook must utilize a paradigm shift to attain the proper synergy for the cookbook to be a success.

                                      2. re: James Cristinian

                                        That's why plain language always wins...and jargon is a huge LOSER! :)

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Nope, corporate speak always wins.

                                          1. re: gaffk

                                            Not in my workplace--and not on my watch!

                                            1. re: gaffk

                                              Sorry no...medical speak will always resonate with a larger population.

                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                I worked at my kid's elementary school for a few years, and was on a panel to rewrite the mission statement and various goals for new accreditation. Oh, my lord, the teacherspeak was dizzying! Facilitating, models, heterogeneous.....every sentence in the document was indecipherable, and we worked very hard to make it that way so it sounded teacher like and important.

                                                I had to ask what the hell 'modeling' was. Then had to wonder why they didn't simply say 'example'.

                                          2. It may be technically correct, grammatically but it's not exactly elegant.

                                            Reminds me of the Harrison Ford quote about the Star Wars script.

                                            "George, you can type this s**t, but you sure as hell can't say it."

                                            1. Sounds more military than for in-home cooking. Poor use of the word - no matter if it is now being used. K.I.S.S., at least in this case.