11 JULY 1931, Page 19

"Spectator" Competitions


Entries must be typed or very clearly written on one side of the paper only. The name and address, or pseudonym, of the competitor must be on each entry and not on a separate sheet. When a word limit is set words must be counted and the number given. No entries can be returned. Prizes may be divided at the discretion of the judge, or withheld if no entry reaches the required standard. The judge reserves the right to print or quote from any entry. The judge's decision is final, and no correspondence can be entered Into on the subject of the award. Entries must be addressed to :—The Editor, the Spectator, 99 Gower Street,

London, W.C. 1, and be marked on the envelope Competition No. (—).

Competition No. 13 (Set by "Duou.")

A PRIZE of f.3 3s. is offered for a new and original English Limerick verse, one line of which must end with the word "July."

Entries must be received not later than Monday, July 13th, 1931. The result of this competition will be announced in our issue of July 25th.

Competition No. 14 (Set by " SCADAVAY.") A PRIZE of £3 8s. is offered for the best pen-picture of "Press-Day in the Editorial Offices of the Spectator." It may be done in any vein you please, from the libellous to the fantastic. Competitors who wish to be under- stood as aiming at realism, as opposed to being funny, should mark their entries "R." There is a limit of 400 words.

Entries must be received not later than Monday, July 20th, 1931. The result of this competition will appear in our issue of August 1st.

The result of Competition No. 12 will appear in our next issue.

Report of Competition No.


A PRIZE of /3 3s. was offered for the best list, not more than 800 words long, with the following title : "Six English Words The Use Of Which Should Be Discontinued : And Why.

This competition had the happiest results. Hardly anybody took up the challenge in a half-hearted or an academic spirit. Ancient prejudices and new disgusts marched shoulder to shoulder under the banners of proscription and reform. Everyone said what they thought with vigour, and in some cases with passion. An overmastering desire to prune the language of Shakespeare and Lord Rothermere revealed itself. If I were an American, I should have headlined this Report : "Home-Tongue Probe The Goods, Says Missed Puzzle-Ed."

A few words were rather obvious victims to popular resent- ment. One out of three entries was nasty about Nice." A good many were justly contemptuous of "Intrigue," in the sense of "To Interest.' " Commence " got what it deserved. "Awful," "Frightful," "Amazing," and " Absolutely " evidently arouse the same aversion from hackneyed exaggera- tions which " Vastly " must have aroused in our forefathers. " Slogan " and " Esquire " were reluctantly axed as good words gone to the bad. "Exploit," "Charity," and " Ges- ture " were all noted as perverts in one way or another. Hideous neologisms like " Talkie " and " Hike " evoked a storm of protest ; of the latter M. Maclean Dobree aptly pointed out that "it sounds as if the user had something in his throat." Some of the etymology got a bit class-conscious. " Proletariat" and " Dole ' were not always condemned for the right reasons, and it seems to me finicky to object to " Master " and " Hands " on sociological grounds. For the sake of the King's English I hope that there are few people as hypersensitive as the gentleman who found " Servant " an invidious term, and would substitute " Domestic " or "Employee."

Competitors had a keen nose for the taint of refinement. "Commence," "Desirous," and " SOmewhat " were relent- lessly proscribed ; Miss J. Walker would like to see the last of" Rendered," "because songs and anthems might in future just be sung." Of "Resort," used of places, S. Barrington MacClean said, with perspicacity, "It has a desperate sound about it." Journalese had a pretty thin time ; words like "Sensation" and "Revelation" were put in their places, usually with considerable rancour. Almost all the competitors selected their bites noires with intelligence, though they were inclined to be ponderous in justifying their choice. But there were several surprises. There was the lady who submitted six words, but only spelt three of them right. There was the other lady whose list in- cluded " Titmouse " (" Why should this pretty bird be likened to a mouse ? "). Best of all, there was the gentleman who wanted to ban " Love-Child " ; "it would be hard to estimate," he said—and I agree with him—" how far this word has tended to increase immorality." There are a lot of people who deserve to be Honourably Mentioned, though I have only space to print one of them. They include Margaret A. M. Macalister, "Dims," Guy Lines, C. R. Haines, " K o Ko," J. A. Jenkins, " Conatus," M. J. Hall, "Hanna," Edgar A. Shaw, "Phillinmur," "Angela," L. N. L., and W. Sterne. The prize goes to W. G. for an amusing fantasia on a perfectly sound thesis.


However desirable the discontinuance of certain words may be, we must remember that the thing named would survive when the name perished, and that perverse human nature would in nearly every case discover a new and possibly more repulsive term for it. A journalist deprived of "literally' would, after the first scalding tears had been shed, adopt another unprepossessing infant and yoke it to his satanic mill. A psychologist forbidden to use " complex" would be at no loss to find a worse word. Inhibit "hiking," and " gadding " or " roaming " will pollute our ears. Even such sub-humans as football and cricket reporters would— with some trouble, it is true—find substitutes for "moiety," "custodian," "trundler," "century," or "leather." The de- praved wretches would not hesitate to coin words of their own, base tokens, as bright and as worthless as bad halfcrowns. A more cogent reasoning applies to all slang words : since they are sure to be discarded in the course of a few months, to order their discontinuance would be a work of supererogation. "Too crushingly divine" has already joined " flash " and " knut " and " dude " in the graveyard of the unlamented.

However, in one corner of the world there is hope for the reformer. The inhabitants of Hollywood are creatures of a limited vocabulary and a still more limited imagination. Every film is a SUPER-film. Every player is a STAR. Every star plucks HEARTSTRINGS. Every film story is a story of PASSION. No film producer can think in any terms save those of DESIRE. Which turns, in the last reel, to ASHES. Prohibit the use of these words, and Holly- wood's occupation is gone. A generation will pass before the Hollywoodians can think of synonyms for them. In that generation who knows 7—we may even learn to do without the film*. altogether.—W. G.



Dumping .. (1)

Papist Intrigued ..



Now used indiscriminately in relation to all foreign goods imported into Britain. Falsely implies that the export of surplus products is not legitimate trading. Contains the germ of a claim that Britain is the only nation entitled to export at competitive prices ; thus fostering (a) national arrogance, (b) international suspicion.

(4) Leads to general confusion of thought on the subject of foreign trade.

Official (Adjective) (1) Loosely used in journalism as equivalent to authentic, true, accurate, reliable ; thus

(2) Suggesting that infallibility is an attribute of administration ; and, consequently (3) Inspiring unjustifiable confidence in office. holders and office organization ; (4) And leading to the assumption that authoritative statements may safely replace • individual judgment.

Blizzard (1) Inappropriate to descriptions of British storms, which differ in force and character from those engendered by the American climate.

(2) Ite use unjustifiable owing to the existence of time-honoured English synonyms such as Tempest, Snowstorm, Hailstorm, Sic. Its descriptive meaning having become tinged with contempt and aversion, its continued use (1) Intensifies bigotry, (2) Falsifies the Christian principle, (3) Hinders the development of Christian unity.

(1) Employed in its passive form in modern literature, it expresses a meaning which has little or nothing in common with the earlier use of the active verb or noun forms.

(2) Sufficient synonyms exist to cover all the shades of meaning now given to the passive form, e.g. :—Attracted (by), Interested (in), Tricked (by), Puzzled (by).

(1) Ugly word applied to a graceful object.

(2) Journalistic pandering to popular taste for slang. (3) Defective as a descriptive term. E. J. Camas.

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