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Bloated Language  

Is it just me, or are we steadily adding syllables to expressions that work just fine without them?

Example. I overheard heard college administrators talk of the need for alternative classroom methods in this age of Coronavirus. They mentioned “new modalities for teaching.” Means the same thing as modes—but “modalities” adds three syllables.

Up until recently, you might have described a powerful event as “transforming.” No longer. We’ve moved on to “transformative.”

“Health” is out. “Wellness” is in.

I understand that times and sensitivities change. But why do they always change for the longer?

You used to go to the hearing doctor. Now it’s “The Center for Auditory Wellness.”

Many of us still remember doing a job interview down at "Personnel"—three syllables. That died years ago in favor of "Human Resources"—five syllables. This one gets me—Human Resources. Did they anticipate a day when we might offer Animal Resources, as opposed to human? Or perhaps Robotic Resources?

As I poke fun at our collective culture (no doubt I'm also guilty of this silly syllable stacking), I offer a caution. Let's take care lest this pseudo-intellectual drivel ooze into our spirituality.

Jesus says, "They think they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). Adding syllables and words doesn’t add to our godliness or spiritual fervor—but often bloats our pride.

Jesus calls us to humble ourselves, like a child. Kids say what they say clearly and simply. It’s time we learned from them.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016