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I don't know what it is... (211.2) - Mark's Journal
I don't know what it is... (211.2)

...but food babytalk (when not actually talking to a baby) drives me insane. This tweet did a nice job of capturing it!

It took me ages to figure out that "OMNOMNOMNOM" (which I can barely type) originated with Cookie Monster, and it makes me feel marginally better when I see it (or its variations) to know that. Only marginally. I just find it difficult to take seriously anything said alongside it.

Honestly, I realize that "yum" and "yummy" aren't significantly different in semantic value, but they're a century older. Is the weight that comes with their age, or even just their strong and longstanding hold on the language, what makes them feel perfectly all right to me while the newer babytalk constructs make my skin crawl?
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pixel39 From: pixel39 Date: March 27th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have known people who pronounce it "sammiches" all my life. So it's not a brand-new word...
acappellasinger From: acappellasinger Date: March 27th, 2013 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not just you. It makes me cringe, too, though I'll bet you are more attuned to it than I am because (a) you are more of a foodie than I am and (b) you majored in Linguistics, whereas I majored in English. I see a lot of this as symptomatic of the overall degradation of the language that has sped up over the course of our lifetimes. It's only getting worse as short-form internet and text message communication become more prevalent and as newspapers and other print media downsize proofreaders and editors out of existence. The rise of spell-check and grammar-check haven't helped, either.

I don't necessarily have a problem with "Omnomnomnom" as a goofy sentiment, as befits its bright blue origin. But it has no place in serious food talk. I'd argue that "yum" and "yummy" don't, either. There are better and more descriptive ways of saying that you like something and why. But those serve as a reasonable shorthand in conversation in part because we've been trained over time to take them somewhat seriously. I doubt that "Omnomnomnom" will ever reach that point as a result of its origin and the way it is used commonly, but check back with me in a couple hundred years. And now that I've said that, I'll bet that it ends up as the centerpiece of a campaign that your department puts together within the next year.

mama0807 From: mama0807 Date: March 27th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can deal with OMNOMNOMNOM far more than I can deal with the use of "z" in place of "s" to pluralize words. It's "shoes", not "shoez"

kitchenqueen From: kitchenqueen Date: March 28th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
The "z" as pluralization drives me nuts too, as well as the use of "z" as a substitution of an "s". I don't want to tell you how long it took me to figure out the logo on the back of a truck said "All Seasons." It was spelled "All C'Zonz".

I don't mind OMNOMNOM and some baby spellings, such as "puppeh" for "puppy." Written language doesn't always translate feeling very well. Of course, one should only use slang and alternate spelling in appropriate context. </p>

That being said, if someone texts me using "U" for "you", consider our friendship strained at best.

mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: March 28th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

I know guinness_duck hates "lolcats" speak, e.g. "I can haz cheezburger," but I don't mind it in reasonable contexts. (That reminds me: "LOL" drives me nuts, too.)

"Puppeh" is an interesting one. I don't really object to people using babytalk to or about their pets, though it seems silly at times. My friend Molly always drops into babytalk when talking about pets, or talking "for" them. It sometimes makes me roll my eyes, but it seems to make her happy.
polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: March 31st, 2013 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)

This may be apocryphal

but Mark Hanford used to do an imitation of Brenda Bell wherein he'd put on a nerdy smile and say "L.O.L.!" I assumed it was his way of opining that he thought her simultaneously clueless and pedantic.
polypolyglot From: polypolyglot Date: March 31st, 2013 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
If Sam Sifton or Mark Bittman ever use OMNOMNOMNOM in the Times, that will be a sign that the Seventh Seal has been opened.
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