Thursday, September 18, 2014

Am I lawning?

Let me start off by saying that I respect Mike Parkinson. I respect Colleen Jolly. I value their company, the 24 Hour Company. (DISCLOSURE: My employer has used the 24 Hour Company's services, and I once won a prize provided by this firm.)

But I've been puzzling over something that I read this morning.

No, not the September 3 entry from Colleen's personal blog.

It's a corporate email that talked about a new course in "solutioning."

The term has apparently been around for a while; the authoritative source Yahoo! Answers referred to the term nine years ago.

(So it's been around for about a decade, if not longer. I am not trendy.)

Despite my adverse reaction, this is an entirely valid use of the English language, as an article entitled What is Verbing? notes.

Quoting Calvin (the cartoon character, not the theologian), Richard Nordquist acknowledges the negative reactions:

Verbing weirds language.

However, verbing is not new.

Psychologist Steven Pinker estimates that up to a fifth of English verbs are derived from nouns--including such ancient verbs as rain, snow, and thunder along with more recent converts like oil, pressure, referee, bottle, debut, audition, highlight, diagnose, critique, email, and mastermind. "In fact," Pinker reminds us, "easy conversion of nouns to verbs has been part of English grammar for centuries; it is one of the processes that make English English" (The Language Instinct, 1994).

So eventually I'll get used to Mike Parkinson's use of "solutioning" - although for a while I'll probably persist in a "get off my lawn" reaction to the term.

And it could be worse - I could be living in Nigeria.
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