Monday, October 10, 2005

Uber Alles

It's time for a moratorium on journalists using the prefix 'uber'. You can seldom read an article these days without 'uber-', or if you want to be pedantic, 'über-', as in 'uber-blogger Willie Lupin.'
We're always told that English is the richest language in the world. Yet when we want to indicate outstanding quality or that something is the best of its kind, it's amazing how often we resort to French or German.

'Uber-blogger Willie Lupin, the new wunderkind of the blogosphere who writes a blog that is widely regarded as the crème de la crème, today gives us his pièce de résistance on the uber-ubiquity of 'uber'.'

Is this just linguistic exhibitionism (and yes, I do it myself sometimes) or is it because there's a dearth of English synonyms for these terms?
I haven't seen the phrase yet but it's only a matter of time: and when I see 'uber-disco diva' I may have an uber-seizure and need treatment from an uber-paramedic.

7 Comments:

At 2:52 PM, Blogger zaphod said...

Worse, in my very humble opinion are the twats who descibe things as *very unique*.
Could be worse I 'spose. Could be Uber Unique.

 
At 2:52 PM, Anonymous super, smashing, lovely said...

There is an English word that carries some of the sense of über; the word is "super"

Superblogger
Superhuman
Supergrass

I think "super," has a latin root, so it probably sounded a just as jarring as "über" once upon a time.

But "super" can't be used to substitute "über" in places where only a "dark" word will do; a word tainted by its association with Nazi ideology. If a journalist writes about an über-advisor to the PM, I read something sinister into it, which can only come from that German word.

If I ever see "über-blogger" I will probably assume that the writer is gently poking fun at Mr. Outraged of Gladstone Avenue, who sits at his keyboard, putting the world to rights.

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Super blogger Willie Lupin the new boy wonder of the blogoshere who writes a blog that is widely regarded as the cream of the crop, today gives an example of his very best work on the suprising rise in the use of an unnecessary word: 'uber'

 
At 9:07 PM, Blogger patroclus said...

Wunderkind, my arse. Everyone knows that Willie is the enfant terrible of the blogosphere. And if I recall correctly, until very recently the word Zeitgeist used to feature in his own preamble.

Et tu, Willie?

 
At 11:54 AM, Blogger JonnyB said...

Bravo.

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger Wyndham said...

Touche, everyone.

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thanks for all your erudite comments.
All these words and phrases are in the OED and the current edition, to show what cool dudes they are at Oxford, gives 'uberbabe' as an example.
I wasn't objecting to their use per se or en principe but complaining about the copycat tendencies of journalists whereby a certain word is suddenly everywhere.

ssl, I rarely see it used in a sinister sense. It mostly seems to be used for no obvious reason at all.

mike: you've proved the point that there are adequate English words although 'cream of the crop' sounds like something in Tesco's vegetable section.

patroclus: I'm a bit old to be an enfant terrible but it's a pleasing thought. To be fair to myself (as you'd expect me to be) I did say that I use such phrases myself. Quite a lot, actually. They add colour and variety to prose if you don't overdo it.

 

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