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Can’t Say All the Syll

I would like to spend today’s Non-Sequitur Thursday on a minor tirade in defense of three syllable words. I don’t know that there’s anything particularly non-sequiturish about it, but it is what happened to come out of my pen.

Full disclosure: I am actually writing this on Wednesday, in my on-going quest to lessen my busy week stress. I’m not sure it’s working.

So here’s my question: When did people get too lazy to say all three syllables of a word? Some time ago I got annoyed when sportscasters started calling Syracuse “The ‘Cuse.” I think this really started on t-shirts and bumper stickers. That’s where I saw it first. Then the sportscasters started in and I realized Syracuse as I know it is doomed.

And you notice how they put the cool “the” at the beginning. Hello! You shorten the word by two syllables but add a one syllable word. That’s a net savings of only one syllable. And one could argue that since it’s adding a whole other word, it’s not a savings at all.

Also, nobody spends time with their family any more. It’s “the fam.” That one’s all over Facebook. Statuses share how somebody had a great time with “the fam.” This one’s not even a net savings, because it’s typed. T-h-e-space is one more keystroke than i-l-y. So these folks are just being cool.

The example that got me to write about this foolishness comes from my beloved cable television. A cheesy series which shall here remain nameless invited its most loyal viewers to purchase “merch” from their online store. For heavens’ sake MERCH? Why don’t you just say “stuff”? “Things”? At least she didn’t say “the merch.” If she had, I could have suggested “items.”

I think part of the problem is we’ve all gotten too cool for school. Sarcasm is our default setting, and we just can’t be bothered. Well, there are things I can’t be bothered with, too, but yet I can usually manage to say an entire word.

Oh, one exception: I rather enjoy the expression “Not no mo’.” Of course, that’s not even saving a syllable, just an “r” sound, which is not really a very burdensome sound to make. I just think it sound cool. So, YES, I, too, succumb to the lure of seeming cool. Point and laugh if you must (and I know some of you must) (you know who you are).

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