Along with many people around the world I watched the search for the Asian Air A320 in the wake of that tragic crash the recovery efforts. Critical to solving what happened was finding the “back boxes.” These incredible devices will be able to unravel the last moments of the flight and are priceless in figuring out what went wrong and how to fix what caused it or avoid the circumstances that doomed the plane.
What I want to know is why every commentator, and most searchers, referred to the “black boxes.” In fact, they are painted blaze orange and appear as both box and cylinder. The Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder, two separate instruments, were literally black boxes a long time ago, fifty years to be exact. However in 1965, they shed those funereal colours in favour of a paint job that made them easier to find. Fifty years later, isn’t it time to stop calling them Black Boxes? Maybe “Flite Recorders would be more appropriate.
This week we’ve been enjoying the tumbling gas prices, however I cringed when I heard one news reader refer to the financial ramifications as physical impacts on our society. The word is fiscal, which is a word referring to the monies received by governments. The only time you could bring these two words together, is if the Finance Minister and Opposition Critic become physical about the fiscal matters in the parliament. The word for using the wrong word is malapropism. Another example is the dance instructor who said the plans of he and his partner didn’t jive. Well maybe they didn’t jive (dance) but if he meant the plans didn’t coincide, the word is jibe.
Now, do not be Bemused, It’s a word often misused.
You think it means amused? Nope – it really means confused
A word that has come into hyper use these days is awesome. Do they really now what it means? It that ice cream was awesome did it inspire an overwhelming feeling of reverence or admiration? Probably not, but then again if it were totally awesome is it reverence in overdrive? Now show me a dude or dudette that fits that description.
I’ll leave you this week with a trick the mind can play on our tounges, resulting in a mix up of word parts. It can create what is called a spoonerism, named after an English cleric who was famous for phrixing up mases. When I worked on air for the venerable CBC, I made certain my “live” announcements were, “This is the CBC Radio network”, of “This is the CBC.” They were never, “This is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,” because I had heard someone spoonerize (is that a word?) that as “the Canadian Broadcorping Castration,” and I knew that lurking in the dark recesses of my mind, that phrase would gleefully leap into the nearest microphone if given any opportunity. Thus it stayed embargoed my whole career, maintaining me a cut above the rest!
Have a great week!