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...   What's the word?
PIDGIN ENGLISH: When the locals add their own flava.

Engrish (Japanglish)
Singlish (Singaporean English)
Manglish (Malaysian English)

Tell Chris about other forms of pidgin English.

My forum for ranting and raving about the use (and abuse) of English. You will also find here, gentle reader, other curiosities of the language.

I have a thing for euphemisms, those terms we use when we'd rather not say exactly what it is we mean to say. (see also: obfuscation)

In today's deflating economic conditions, I think it is appropriate that we focus on euphemisms for layoffs. Fired, canned (shit-canned!), laid off -- these are not euphemisms, but rather accurate characterizations of a nasty process.

The following gems, however, are euphemisms with which we have now become quite familiar:

  • consolidation
  • cost-containment
  • downsizing (so '80s)
  • involuntary attrition
  • involuntary separation
  • "letting you go" (nice but quaint)
  • outplacement
  • reduction in force (RIF)
  • reengineering (so '80s)
  • restructuring
  • rightsizing
  • streamline operations
  • staff/workforce/headcount reduction
  • termination
  • voluntary termination, part of a "performance improvement plan" (Razorfish)
Do you have more?

Reader's Digest used to have a section called "Picturesque Speech." (Do they still have it? I haven't read it in ages.) It contained quotes from various literati and celebrities. The whole point being that one could create vivid mental images purely through the use of words. Kind of like words that play movies in the theater of the mind. I mean, witness the enduring power of oral story-telling and the written word, regardless of the media in which they appear. There is magic in the word.

So, I want to change the color scheme for this page. I'm thinking of using the colors of the British flag (Union Jack) or the red-and-white one. Anyone has other ideas? Better still, give me the hex codes for the colors. (No prizes, but I will love you more than when we first met.)

More definitions that I can't keep straight. This time, it's about sensuality and sensuousness -- what's the difference? (from

  • sen·su·al: adj. 1. Relating to or affecting any of the senses or a sense organ; sensory. 2. a. Of, relating to, given to, or providing gratification of the physical and especially the sexual appetites. See Synonyms at sensuous. b. Suggesting sexuality; voluptuous. c. Physical rather than spiritual or intellectual. d. Lacking in moral or spiritual interests; worldly.
  • sen·su·ous: adj. 1. Of, relating to, or derived from the senses. 2. Appealing to or gratifying the senses. 3. a. Readily affected through the senses. b. Highly appreciative of the pleasures of sensation.
So, it looks like the differentiation is slight. However, while both terms refer to the senses, "sensual" tends to carry more of a sexual and immoral connotation than "sensuous." Mmmm ... sensual.

11.26.00: WHAT'S A METAPHOR?
I've always had problems distinguishing a simile from a metaphor from an analogy etc. Now (thanks to, I can keep 'em straight.

  • sim·i·le: n. A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as, as in How like the winter hath my absence been or So are you to my thoughts as food to life (Shakespeare).
  • met·a·phor: n. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in a sea of troubles or All the world's a stage (Shakespeare).
  • analogy: n. Similarity in some respect between things that are otherwise dissimilar: the operation of a computer presents an interesting analogy to the working of the brain.

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