The (over) – Use of Hyperbole in Vernacular

hyperbole-04I will begin this post with a statement about hyperbole in our language…. We are loosing our ability to emphasize anything in particular because we tend to use too much hyperbole.

If we put emphasis on everything, then nothing gets emphasized. As a society we have taken to using extreme words in un-extreme circumstances; words like awesome, hate and absolutely, … the list is long. What makes us use such words and what does using these words do to our culture? Finally, how can we insure that we use the language properly?

People may use extreme words to attract attention to themselves. By posing as being linguistically advanced, some may feel better about themselves. I find it funny when people attempt this strategy and end-up spouting out non-words like “irregarless” (even my spell check knows this isn’t a word). Some people may mimic what they hear, others just make-up words as they go. I will put some of the blame on Pop-culture. Here the snowball effect makes the use of certain words more prevalent in society. Media and the entertainment industries will never take the blame for initiating language trends, but surely they are responsible for proliferating hyperbole and incorrect usages. Some people may use hyperbole to affect their emotions. If we say “these are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten!” we feel good and make the baker feel good too. Some people are naturally positive in their use of the language; others are naturally negative.

When words are used incorrectly or we use hyperbole and people listening know better, suddenly the speaker’s credibility is lost. Or, if the people listening don’t know better, the misuse may be further propagated and our language gets “extremely” misused.

How do we prevent this? Reading good literature, learning new words and their meaning. teaching our children how to use the language correctly are a few suggestions. Some people I know are a little more extreme in their nature (kind-of like social hyperbole). They will play the role of the Language Police*. When the language is misused, they will correct other’s language at any time or in any place – talk about extremes.

In conclusion, I believe we can restore the use of hyperbole to its right place in our language. If not, we are doomed!

Follow Daily Dose of Reading on Twitter for the Word of the Week. This is a prompt to use words with your children and help them build their vocabulary. This weeks word is “extreme”.

* Language Police – I have intentionally misused the language and grammar in this post. Please don’t feel the need to correct punctuation or modify nouns etc…..

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