pet peeve (noun): a frequent subject of complaint1
If you’re a language enthusiast on the internet, you have probably heard about Erik Singer. Erik Singer is a dialect coach who frequently collaborates with the WIRED YouTube channel. His videos are both informative and fun, so it’s no wonder that he is extremely popular. We already showed you one of his videos in a previous Video-Fix (check it out here).
You’ll be pleased to know that WIRED recently released a new video with Erik Singer and fellow dialect coach Eliza Simpson. This time the topic is ‘Language Pet Peeves’.
People have strong opinions about language use. In this video, Erik Singer looks at some of the most common things people find annoying about language. The pet peeves he looks at include eggcorns (using the wrong words in phrases (e.g. ‘for all intensive purposes’ instead of ‘for all intents and purposes’) and vocal fry (dropping your voice down to its lowest register which lends it a raspy quality).
Watch the video here:
It’s normal to have some linguistic pet peeves – especially when you know the correct grammatical rules and expressions of a language. Then it can be particularly frustrating to hear other people use language wrong. However, most linguists are descriptivists rather than prescriptivists: this means that they do not tell people how to use language, but record and analyse how language is actually being used.
All languages are alive and changing, because they are constantly shaped by their users. No one can freeze a living language into place, it is part of the natural evolution of all languages that expressions shift their forms and meanings over time.
- Merriam-Webster. 2020. Definition of “pet peeve” [Online]. Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pet%20peeve [Accessed: 28/07/2020].
Written by Janna Mack. From Luxembourg, she has degrees in Linguistics, Education, and Translation from Glasgow University. Her personal language pet peeve is when people write ‘should of’ instead of ‘should have’.