March 12, 2006

Something Suspicious Indeed

Evidently some folks feel the English language does not already get butchered enough. We denizens of the DC area are being instructed, nay, encouraged to mangle it even more.

I bring you a vocabulary lesson, fresh from official signage printed in large bold type and posted on trains in our Metrorail system:
Sumpnspicious (sŭmp • ən • spĭsh • əs) n. Unattended package or odd, unusual behavior that is reported to a bus driver, train operator (via intercom at end of rail car), station manager or Metro police at 202-867-5309.

Because it's really hard to say "something suspicious."
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

.

16 comments:

Steph said...

Please say it ain't so!

It was bad enough when they had to redo the "Doors Closing" voice because she sounded rude. Like two mechanical words can sound rude?!? (Although I hear they're now redoing the voices again?)

Crystal A. Fox, M.Ed. said...

I'll tell you "sumpnspicious" ... the fact that I already knew the definition of that word before I read it on your post .... disturbing.....

Sharon said...

Aye, that's pathetic.

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

Not to be confused with "sumpalicious", which is "of or relating to an unusually intense fascination with sump pumps".

Elizabeth said...

Whether you like it or not they got you to talk about it. Score one for the marketing firm the city hired for such a thing.

But on to the really important stuff...why the hell did they kill Dana off? What is up with that crap?

Gina said...

And you call yourselves the "Right Coast!"

WordsRock said...

eb, the horror! While watching the episode, Wendy and I both thought there was sumpnspicious going on. We went from "they won't kill Dana" to "I think they are going to kill Dana" to "omfg, they killed Dana!"

Suzanne

WordsRock said...

Steph, the new announcer for the "doors closing, please stand clear of the doors" recording has not yet taken over. I like the old one. She's warm and pleasant, not mechanical or rude at all.

Crystal, it's the city rubbing off on you. Do they talk like that in Philly too?

gdg, my definition of sumpalicious would have nothing to do with plumbing.

Suzanne

Sam said...

What really bothers me about the new 'sumpnspicious' is how it will be received by tourists, particularly non-English speaking tourists. They won't be able to look this word up in a dictionary and some may not understand the slang and play on words. Just how effective do they think this campaign will be?? Oh yeah, they didn't appear to think at all when designing it.

Elizabeth said...

It's not meant for tourists. It's meant for regular riders.

http://www.wmata.com/about/met_news/
PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=981

They're trying to make the mundane not so mundane. My guess is that the DC Metro powers that be were trying to find an interesting way to keep people aware of their surroundings.

I think it's funny and it's a good idea. Some people might think it's stupid (obviously) but I remember back in 1984 all kinds of people (mostly men) who denounced with great glee the stupidity of an icon driven operating system...it was called a Macintosh.

You never know what's gonna work until you go out on a limb and give it a try.

Career Guy said...

At first I thought that it was pretty pathetic, like pandering to the lowest common denominator, but then I read the press release. I suppose I can get over my superior attitude about the proper use of language.

WordsRock said...

Thanks for providing the backstory, eb.

But I truly believe it's an ill-advised means of "raising awareness." Promoting language incompetence, which is what I feel such signs do, is the last thing we need more of done here in DC.

Even if it is not intended for tourists, tourists are something we have a ton of here. They are also the folks who could well use a reminder to be more aware of their surroundings during their visit. What's wrong with using proper English to present it?

Comparing skepticism of this campaign to initial doubt surrounding a potential technological advancement is just silly. I'm trying to see your point, but it eludes me.

Suzanne

Sam said...

When you create a public service announcement or any kind of campaign, you should be aware of your entire audience. That does include the large amount of tourists DC has. It also includes the multitude of people who live in the DC metropolitan area that do not speak English or have limited English skills.

Thanks for the link to the press release. I can see what they were trying to accomplish. I just wish they would do that in addition to a campaign to reach out to low literate and non-English speaking populations. And perhaps one that doesn't have to dumb down language in order to grab someone's attention.

Crystal A. Fox, M.Ed. said...

Suzanne - Yes they do talk like that in the city of brotherly love...however, it's not accepted so widespread as to put it on signs.

If they do start changing around the signs I will be the first to petition that they label the "gay section" of the city the "gayborhood"....or at the very least "sumpnflamboyant".

jen said...

Not only that...but now the word "bootylicious" is in the friggin dictionary!! YEP!! Beyonce made up some word to describe her ample bahookala...and now...it's in the dictionary. Yikes....

TDharma said...

First, as a LWord viewer that is a couple of seasons behind (thanks, NetFlix), WTF about Dana!!!! La, la, la, la, la, la.....I didn't HEAR you....

Remember when Ms. magazine came out? The furor over the term "Ms.?" It would never catch on, they said! Now, I'm not sure how I fee about the DC signage...my first hit is it is ridiculous...expialidociously so. Um diddleliddle um diddleaye.