It certainly does... smart.

First they did it to the word green; now smart gets the same treatment. The marketing & business folks have resorted to using an adjective as a though it were a noun:

I think we can safely assume that the folks who thought this up are not simply ignorant of proper English, but are on the contrary entirely cognizant of their error, and hoping to grab the public’s attention for a time through the deliberately unconventional use of language.

There is a long tradition of this sort of thing. Apple’s Think Different advertising campaign is but one recent example.

It is a bit disheartening, however, to observe the effect this has on the language. It’s hard enough to encourage proper use of the language without advertisers’ abominable abuses to the language competing for people’s attention.

From the point of view of the language, using this type of deliberate error in well-funded ad campaigns can be seen as a short-sighted exploitation of a limited resource. The resource in this case is people’s attention, combined with the limited number of novel mistakes that the language can tolerably absorb.

What slash-and-burn agriculture is to the rain forest, so this type of deliberate misuse is to the language. Both yield short-term results, but also leave lasting damage.

There is a disproportionate influence exerted upon the language by commercial entities whose short-term interests have little to do with the long-term consistency, simplicity and beauty of the language.

I have observed a similar phenomenon when it comes to product names. Every few years, some new MBA will come along and decide to rename everything, under the guise of “establishing coherent brand identity across product families,” or some such thing. This inevitably leads to great confusion among sales and technical staff, to say nothing of the poor customers. Sure, the product lineup gets the shine and sparkle of a new name; but here too the unintended consequences are real and lasting: no one knows what anything is called anymore, and there’s the practical impossibility of finding coherent information about a product whose name has changed four times in the space of a few years.

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