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"At the end of the day" not management-speak

Not, that is, unless you think that typical contemporary exponents of this linguistic register are Dick Cavett, Glamour Magazine, and Michael Bérubé. I noted this morning that Scott Adams is far from the only one to suggest that "at the end of the day" (in the meaning "when all is said and done" or "in […]

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The Synergy of the Growth Hack Paradigm

Non Sequitur for 10/7/2019:

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Ask Language Log: Loud Americans?

From Federico Escobar: An old but ongoing comment/joke among several Spanish speakers I know says that English speakers are particularly loud. It's a gross generalization, I know, but one borne out by countless times in which the voices booming over everyone else's in a restaurant comes from the one table with American tourists. A friend […]

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Universal journalistic clichés?

Tank McNamara for 8/8/2016: The Olympic Games are unique in showcasing competition in so many sports by the elite athletes of so many nations. It is an amazing stew of many cultures, yet there are common experiences. For instance it is amazing to hear "at the end of the day …" spoken in so many […]

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Open Letter to Terry Gross

Sameer ud Dowla Khan, a phonetician at Reed College, has written an open letter to Terry Gross, which starts like this: While I am a loyal fan of your program, I’m very disappointed in your interview of David Thorpe and Susan Sankin from 7 July 2015. As both a phonetician who specializes in intonation, stress patterns, and […]

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Anne Curzan, "What to do about 'impactful'?", Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/19/2013: If I were asked to rate new words on a scale from 1-10 based on their aesthetic appeal (note: words’ aesthetic appeal in my opinion—this scale cannot possibly be objective), with 10 being the most appealing and 1 being the least, I would […]

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Why no "all in all" peeving?

The words and phrases that annoy people are typically criticized as over-used, illogical, fashionable among a disliked group, or shifted in a confusing way from an earlier meaning.  It's often true that such irksome usages have indeed increased in frequency — thus "at the end of the day", which was the Plain English Campaign's choice […]

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"Stakeholders" is a 25-year-old piece of management-speak that has been adopted enthusiastically by some software professionals. Thus "Understanding Organizational Stakeholders for Design Success": The term was introduced in a seminal book by R. Edward Freeman called Strategic Management (1984). The word stakeholder was used to stand in contrast to the neoclassical view of the firm […]

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When did managers become stupid?

Andrew Gelman at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, commenting on my posts about a Dilbert cartoon that skewers "the vacuous way managers talk", asks "What is a 'manager' anyway?" My only comment here is not on the Bayesian inference but rather on the idea that "managers" are dweeby Dilbert characters who talk using […]

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Another nail in the ATEOTD=manager coffin

Some people are hard to persuade. In response to my post "'At the end of the day' not management-speak", Peter Taylor commented: I argue that the first question to ask is whether hearing someone use the phrase "At the end of the day" conveys information on whether they are likely to be a manager… Well, […]

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Mobile morphology: UNwrong'D or just plain wrong?

A new advertising campaign by the cellphone company Boost Mobile is a real head-scratcher, in large part due to its creative (possibly too creative) experimentations in English morphology. Morphological innovation has driven some other recent ad campaigns, notably the creation of "Snacklish" by the good people at Snickers (discussed by Arnold Zwicky here, linking back […]

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