It has long been my contention that most Americans these days don’t give much consideration to the words they use, a weakness that has given rise to many of the dopey word combinations I’ve gone after in previous installments of this blog, such as the illogical and mentally lazy assertion “I could care less,” a phrase that inadvertently states the very opposite of the intended meaning.
It is that same recklessness that has perpetuated linguistic redundancies like “ATM machine” (which means Automated Teller Machine machine), “PIN number” (Personal Identification Number number), and “LCD display” (Liquid Crystal Display display).
There are any number of these erroneously overloaded terms that say what they’re saying and then say it again, like “unexpected surprise” (a surprise is, by definition, unexpected) and “postpone until later.” (If one isn’t postponing until later, then is one postponing until earlier . . . postponing until now?) When we forget what we’re saying, these redundancies creep into our language like sneaky little termites.
The other day, the Curmudgeon found himself pondering the idea of sea salt. Whence, I asked myself, might non-sea salt come from? Quick research confirmed my understanding that all salt (with the exception of salt from asteroids or meteorites, which, I can assure you, is not in your household spice rack) comes from bodies of salt water. Calling it “sea salt” adds a nonexistent distinction, as would “foot shoes,” “water fish,” “grape wine,” or “washing soap.”
Sometimes, the unwitting repetitions result from non-English words that have been lost in translation. For example, it makes no sense to write “please RSVP,” since the initialism stands for “répondez s'il vous plait” which translates to “please respond.” Saying “please please respond” is a bit much.
Intrigued with interest, I personally finger-typed some word terms into my electronic computer machine and discovered the following informational fact findings:
The Nile River — “Nile” is ancient Egyptian for “great river” and Coptic for just plain old "river."
The Sahara Desert — “Sahara” is Arabic for “desert.”
The La Brea Tar Pits —This LA site is over-named twice, since “la brea” means "the tar,” making it “The The Tar Tar Pits.”
The Los Angeles Angels — Yes, that would be “The The Angels Angels.”
The River Avon — “Avon” is Welsh for . . . you guessed it.
Sierra Mountains — In Spanish, “sierra” means a mountain range, especially with a serrated or irregular outline.
Chai tea — “Chai” is always tea. You may henceforth simply order chai, confident that tea is involved.
Ahi tuna — Ahi is always tuna—a particular type of tuna, but tuna nonetheless. “Ahi tuna” is like saying “espresso coffee.”
Rice pilaf — Pilaf is always made with rice.
Panini sandwich — This one is especially odd, since it combines a plural word (“panini,” meaning “sandwiches”) and a redundant singular word (“sandwich”). “A panini sandwich” translates to “a sandwiches sandwich.”
Queso — This is the Spanish word for cheese. So if you ever encounter “queso cheese,” please scoff and mock accordingly.
Carne asada — Literally “grilled meat,” this dish can be prepared in many different ways, none of them—not one—devoid of meat. So “carne asada meat,” or “carne asada beef” . . . well, you get the idea.
If you too as well in addition are intrigued with interest on the topic subject of repetitious redundancies, you might could enjoy the following collection list below as well too:
There’s also this Internet website too in addition also, which offers an A-to-Z alphabetical rundown list of terms with extra, extraneous, superfluous words.
These are the things that make me a grouchy curmudgeon.