Monday, 29 August 2011


I was rather amused by a post on The Cantos of Mutabilitie complaining about the use of the word "gutted" by a chief examiner concerning the way in which his board had somehow managed to put unanswerable questions on their papers this year. Some of the comments on the post dwelt on similar linguistic monstrosities, for example the advice given by an  Ryanair hostess that her passengers should "chillax" during the flight.
It is fairly unforgivable that an examiner should use slang such as "gutted" in the context of an official statement, especially as teachers regularly receive feedback which emphasises the need for students to avoid "an overly colloquial register." Sometimes the reports give real life examples of things which the board consider totally bang to rights - sorry - utterly insupportable , such as "Cleopatra is a high maintenance lady", or even,  "Hamlet was pissed off about his mum and his uncle shagging"(!)
Some colloquialisms are more fitted to a certain context or occasion than a more formal phrase. I dislike a written style that is bland, stilted or engineered to include a lot of latinate words simply in an attempt to impress.  The word "chillax" has to be an exception to this rule. I challenge anyone to think of a real life context in which the word "chillax"is anything other than a gross assault upon the person. As for, "God wants you to chillax", anyone using that phrase in a sermon should face severe and immediate disciplinary measures!


  1. It looks from the faces of the unmoving elderly ladies as though God may have taken action in a rather unexpected way.
    I do agree, by the way, language is supposed to grow and develop, not vanish without trace.
    Nice one!

  2. Heh, you're dead right about the word "chillax", it is used insultingly.

    Sometimes I use more casual phraseology. For example, today in a blog post I used the word "Downer", but I always check the dictionary to ensure it's a 'real' word.

  3. I have just eaten a large fish whose forlorn eyes looked at me from the plate. It looked gutted to me. I felt totally chillaxed about eating it.

  4. OK, I'm writing to your bishop now...;)

  5. Loved the video clip and have half-inched it on mine (referring to you of course)