Via Stuff : “I’ll reach out to her,” said the woman on the phone.
I continued to earwig. Must be something big. Really big. Those words are only uttered in breathless tones and usually in the same sentence as “rescue” or “intervention”.
“Glenys is trapped in a satanic Karori cult; we need to reach out to her. Ken, put the intervention team on standby.”
Terribly urgent stuff. But no. Turns out, when you reach out in 2017 you are making contact with someone. Might be by phone; might be by email. Either way, it probably won’t involve Cult Busters of Karori or the Armed Offenders Squad.
It’s one of those phrases that started out with some gravitas and has been diluted to mean something else. Something trivial. And it drives, some of us. Of a certain generation. Nuts.
Reach out, I’ll give you reach out. Will you just phone them.
And while you’re reaching out, can you can kick “moving forward” back to where it came from. Is there a more redundant phrase? Unless you’re Marty McFly and the proud owner of a time-travelling DeLorean, there is simply nowhere else to go.
Other examples I’d like to check into the St Jargon Retirement Home for Lame Language: “Loop me in” (tell me), “touch base” (talk), “across that” (doing it) and “learnings” (cock-ups).
And “putting out feelers,” well, that just sounds a bit icky.
How about that old parent-teacher interview favourite… Yep, just when you’ve broken through the non-stop teacher monologue before your five precious minutes are up, the head of English drops in a “pedagogy”. A what? I looked it up. It just means the practice of teaching (and not a foot massage with bonus toenail grooming), so why not just say so? Or say support instead of “scaffolding”?
There are, however, some cracking-good phrases and words that must remain in our lexicon: “This is going straight to the pool room.” Snitched from the little Aussie classic The Castle, and a tremendous way of graciously accepting the charming papier mache urn Uncle Bernie has gifted you.
“Indeed” is an appropriate response for almost anything, and “Oh my word” covers everything else. Try it; works every time.
And where would we be without “Nek minnit”, “sweet as” or this from the late great John Clarke aka Fred Dagg: “Kick it in the guts, Trev.”
So it’s not all doom and gloom. But moving forward, we’ll all need to think outside the box when we’re drilling down into our language. It should be a win-win. If not, just reach out – for your earplugs.