Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sinister Buttocks

I have some friends who are interested in the book and movie series, Left Behind.

I haven't read the books or seen the movies. I have, however, an interest in words and how they are used or misused.

Believe it or not, there is a connection (of sorts) between these two subjects. I receive a weekly newsletter called World Wide Words. This week it contains the following item, which I will quote in its entirety:
Synonymising fallacy. An article dated 7 August in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) introduced me to the new word Rogetism. Its creator is Chris Sadler, a lecturer at Middlesex University. 
He had wondered about mysterious out-of-context phrases such as tarry forth of the conquest, modern store guides, bequest mazes and Herculean personalised liturgies, which kept appearing in student essays. Eventually he twigged that they were plagiarising online material but trying to hide it by changing some of the words using a thesaurus. Unfortunately, they were using what they’d looked up without caring about its meaning. 
The phrases above resulted from applying this process to, respectively, stay ahead of the competition, new market leaders, legacy networks and powerful personalised services. 
Sadler’s favourite Rogetism (coined, of course, from the most famous of all thesauruses, that created by Peter Mark Roget) is sinister buttocks, which he has entered for this year’s THES exam howlers competition. The original was left behind.

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