Saturday, February 9, 2008

Again, I Ask, Why Don't People Know How to Talk?

It’s time for another edition of “Why Don’t People Know How to Talk?”, which is just one of the many services provided, at no charge, by the generous and philanthropic staff at Ross King World Tour. We do this because we care.

We also do this because people don’t know how to talk, and that really chaps us.

Today’s word is “regardless.” That’s the word: regardless. It sort of means “either way,” or “no matter what.” You can go here to get the real definition. We don’t do that kind of thing here at the Ross King World Tour Office. We just do things like planning World Tours and discussing the destructive ramifications of a nation full of people who don’t know how to talk. What have you.

Anyway, the word is “regardless.” That’s the word.


Not “irregardless.”

“Irregardless,” if one were to say it in a sentence, would mean “not-regardless,” which really doesn’t make any sense. I suppose “regarding” is the closest thing to an actual word that works if you’re looking to say “not-regardless.” But most people use “irregardless” to mean “regardless.” See, that’s a problem. Because you’re using two words that should, by their composition, be opposites, and making them synonyms. It’s like saying, “I was trying to speak properly, but I realized that I non-couldn’t because I’m so not-un-brainless.”

If you ever actually said that sentence, you should most certainly follow it with something like “Boo-ya!” or “I just blew your mind.” That way everyone would think you were really a carefree, unhinged genius, and not a not-non-moron.

Now, if you do in fact use the word “irregardless” to intentionally mean “regarding,” then go ahead and keep doing it (even though you’re wasting a syllable and mucking up what could be a decent, God-pleasing sentence). But otherwise, stop. You’re embarrassing yourself and those around you.

Oh, and just in case some of you are wondering how this grammatical abomination entered our culture, here’s my theory.

Irrespective. That’s a word that basically means “regardless.” See how close it is to “irregardess”? That “irre” is really the kicker. But honestly, I’ve heard the word “irrespective” used maybe a half dozen times in my whole life, and all those times it was used by people who are so smart that they probably never talk to people who would say “irregardless,” because their huge brains would melt from the sheer pinheaded audacity of hearing it. These are two groups of people who simply do not socialize with one another. So I don’t know how the confusion happened. It really amazes me that folks are even allowing the two words to get mixed up. Maybe they met at the Super Bowl Half Time Show. Those shows always have weird combinations of people. It’s always like “The Keebler Fudge Fritter Super Bowl Half-Time Show Presents Limp Bizkit, Clay Aiken, and Bono, performing ‘I Shot the Sheriff,’ accompanied by the Ugandan Children’s Choir.” It’s always eccentric and surprising. And lame. So maybe words are meeting there as well, getting thrown together on grammatical blind dates, having one night stands and producing bi-polar verbal offspring.

That would make “irregardless” the unplanned love-child of Irrespective and Regardless.

It’s just a theory.

Oh, and I realize I’m mixing metaphors. All the bad communication of the world is making me loopy and incoherent.

Anyway, that’s it. Regardless. It means “either way.” Irregardless. It means “please punch me in the larynx really hard.” Hopefully that’s not too confusing.

Go into the world, now, young Jedi, and speak properly. If you don’t, you run the risk of looking like an ignoramus, regardless of your actual intelligence.

You’re welcome.


Rockin' Sake Robot said...

This is great, but you blew it at the end with the following typo.

'Oh, and I realizing I’m mixing metaphors.'

Regardless, it is laugh out loud funny. Thanks for the insight.

rk said...

see, this is the kind of dialogue i'm talking about. if only everyone were as honest as you, robot boy.

thad said...

Sometime after your first post in this series, you and I were in the same room and someone said something that was perfect material for this, only I couldn't point it out to you at the time lest I look like a word-snob/jackass instead of a Jesus-following, people-loving pastor. Sadly, I've now forgotten what it was or who said it. Pray to the Lord of Harvest that I might remember so we can mock them on the world wide the glory of God and edification of his people, of course. I mean, Jesus wants us all to talk good and stuff, irregardless of whether it hurts people's feelings. Jesus could care less about people's feelings. (Enjoy the brilliance of that final sentence, which is a grammatical-theological paradox of sorts.)

rk said...

Amen, Pastor Thad.

"could care less" is on my list.

As far as that now-forgotten verbal offense is concerned, don't worry, there are plenty of people out there who don't konw how to talk. The Lord will lead us to them soon enough.

Robert Conn said...

Have you tackled supposably yet?

Although my spell check is telling me it is a real word... it just can't be true right?

joe.peebles said...

Here's my store-brand theory of a possible social dynamic for deviant vocabulary and syntax. Some people just want to stick it to the man. Non-respective of their respective intelligences, they just don't want to "play by their rules" anymore. Or his rules. Whoever it is that makes things suck.

My wife, who has a tendency to challenge social norms in matters of language, was recently very excited to stumble on to something on her old elementary school website that said they taught their students "inventive spelling".

I offer hope to the world of the word-wary. Fight the status quo! Confidence is possible, irregardless of whether or not you "know how to talk" or not.

RR said...

Please tell me that you are going to tackle "fixin"
I'm "fixin" to.....

Kaity said...

yes, you are funny. I laughed so hard when i read this.

Johnny! said...

"Fixin'" is perfectly acceptable language, at least in parts of the country in which English is spoken in a civilized fashion.

EAR-r3g4rdl3ss, teh rest is t3h sux0r!

Alex Burdine said...

I'd like someone to tackle this gem: "Do What?"

I've never heard this phrase used to the nth degree like I did in 2 years in Texas.