Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Here's Why You Hate the Word "Webinar"


Awful, awful, awful.

But have you ever wondered why it's so awful? 

I think I've figured it out. Here's my pet theory as to why "webinar" sucks as a portmanteau: Because it's not a real portmanteau at all. The "web-" replaces "sem-", but "sem-" is not a prefix with a defined meaning that "web" is substituting for. The substitution is based on assonance. Which is fine if you are writing Old English epic poetry or a Tom Waits song, but not so much if you're trying to impart meaning.

Same goes for "webucator," which I have only seen one time, but which burned its way into my brain like sulphuric acid.


So: what other hideous edu-jargon do you hate and why?

(PS: my dad asked for more non-Middlemarch content. He made no specifications as to quality. Enjoy, Dad!)


heu mihi said...

This phrase is not made up of made-up words, but it still drives me nuts:

"Best practices."

Because people just assert them like they mean something. "But that's best practices!" they'll say, about whatever the hell it is that they're trying to ram down your throat.

I mean, obviously sometimes people use the phrase to refer to something that's actually supported by legitimate research. But only sometimes. In my experience.

EarthSciProf said...

Unfortunately the phrase “best management practices” is used widely in the environmental/regulatory/engineering field. In my view (as something of a newcomer to this part of the environmental field), it’s a very vague and non-specific phrase that could mean almost anything but often is used to mean specific things that may rather vague to anybody but the person using th term.

Fretful Porpentine said...

"Rubric." It absolutely drives me up the wall, and the worst part is that it has somehow become so ubiquitous that nobody seems to perceive it as jargon, even though nobody had ever heard this word (at least not used in this particular sense) when I was in school. It's like the invasive kudzu of edu-speak.