The English language would be considerably improved if the terms "catastrophic health insurance," "forced relaxation" and "spin doctor" were banished.
That's according to a list put out Saturday by Lake Superior State University, which gathers expressions annually for its Dishonour List of Words Banished from the English Language.Language watchers submit terms they consider misused, overused and generally useless, the university's statement said Saturday.
George Bush's "read my lips" quote prompted Michael Locke of Mount Clemens, Mich., to write, "If it had been banned last year, we would not have had to listen to this throughout the 1988 campaign. In the interest of forging a kinder and gentler nation, I am withdrawing my 1987 suggestion that the lips of all political candidates be fattened up for easier reading."
Others objected to expressions they thought should be shortened.
" `Soft-wheel infrastructure system' is bureaucratic lingo gone mad," said Chris Thompson of Duluth, Minn. "Why not call them what they are: highways?"
Though Australia may be growing in popularity among tourists, one Canadian contributor to the list saw fit to issue an "Aussie Alert."
Terms such as "mate," "spark up the barbie" and "too right" are "creeping like crocodiles into North American English," said Susie O'Donnell of Willowdale, Ontario.
Keith Krahnke decided to battle the media industry singlehandedly by pointing out terms he thinks should be eliminated.
Krahnke thinks the word "infotainment," an information-entertainment program, sounds like a government policy to stem the spread of communism by flooding Third World countries with free copies of Readers' Digest.
"Dramedy," a hybrid of a comedy and drama, sounds like a camel with the shingles, he added.
M. DeChant of Newberry, Mich., "spin doctor" more appropriately describes a terrific slam dancer with a medical degree or a nifty move to the hoop by Julius Erving than a person who determines the slant of news coverage.