Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Literature and insights From: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Volume 28, Issue 3.
“Quirks of work” words
Ours is a house of words. Its residents, some of whom are authors, treasure the wonders that words can achieve in connecting people – presenting and sharing human fears and hopes, delights and whimsies. Valuing such things is not the preserve of writers, of course (or I should say “thankfully”), since readers are essential to make those words matter. Luckily, ours is a house of readers too.
One of my daughters recently returned from overseas with a gift for us that she bought in the famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop opposite Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris. The book Lost in Translation by Ella Frances Sanders is subtitled “An illustrated compendium of untranslatable words from around the world”. For example, did you know that “tima” is an Icelandic verb for “not being ready to spend time or money on a specific thing, despite being able to afford it”, or that “iktsuarpok” is an Inuit noun for “the act of repeatedly going outside to keep checking if someone (anyone) is coming”? There should be an equivalent word for frequently checking for new e-mails.
Cribbing material from another book and various web sources, Lost in Translation offers some fascinating insights into the limits and potentials of language. These two facets go hand in hand because the book indirectly suggests that, when we can see other languages doing different things than our own, we don’t need to simply envy them but can also imagine the enjoyable possibilities lying ahead in our own language.
What, then, might our speech and writing have to offer? It is impossible to pin down. New words emerge and some may gain traction (there’s a newish term), even if we think them ugly. One of my pet hates is “get-go” (as in “from the get-go”) but journalists and even my colleagues use it now without any sense of irony. I flinch and tell myself to get over my disdain, without success, as you can see.
So, on the basis that I might join those I can’t beat, I thought it would be good to jump in right now before the next wave of new words arrives, and see if any of the following might start to be used. These are all words that might apply in the often-quirky world of our work places. Remember, if you see these somewhere, you spotted them first in the AAAJ:
Acrofog – hiding information through deliberately overusing acronyms;
Buzzgrab – turning attention towards yourself at someone else’s expense;
Chrisplus – a workplace bonus received at Christmas time;
Chrisless – a smaller than expected bonus received at Christmas time;
Credshif – someone else happily taking credit for your good work;
Crapshif – when you get the blame for someone else’s mistakes;
Defnod – pretending to listen and agree;
Flitfunk – a fleeting but misplaced sense of disappointment;
Flitfund – an investment promising but not delivering huge rates of return;
Gleefail – a fleeting but misplaced sense of pleasure;
Holiglum – taking a holiday but always thinking of work;
Inkflop – when a printer fails at a critical moment;
Inkmiss – losing a favourite pen immediately after putting it down;
Sadsend – sudden regret after sending a text message to the wrong person;
Techbluff – speaking as if you know about some technology when you don’t; and
Techdubbluff – when you know someone is bluffing about their technological knowledge, and happily lead them on.
Are you ready to slip these into conversation or reports, or maybe a conference presentation? If so, let me know if anyone “calls you out”, that is to say, questions the legitimacy or currency of the word – which is not the same as a ‘call out’, since that is either a simple public greeting, an announcement of a job vacancy, or a declaration that auditions are to be held, or maybe something else altogether that I haven’t heard about yet.
A little sadly, Lost in Translation also includes “tsundoku”, a Japanese word for the book one does not read but typically leaves next to other, similarly unread volumes. I guess not everything written is of the same quality, or as compelling as other options at a given moment. When will the right moment arrive that will suit a particular text? Only time itself will tell. Maybe there is a word for that too.
In this issue, Kerry Jacobs’ poem “On Coming to ADFA” describes a moment of observation through his University of New South Wales office window at the Australian Defence Force Academy. It brings together “us and them” in a very economical and effective realization. I look forward to Professor Jacobs creating a word that may be unique to his work situation.
Your own creative contributions can be submitted via ScholarOne, and your e-mail correspondence is always welcome, of course, at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Evans - Literary Editor
Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) welcomes submissions of both research papers and creative writing. Creative writing in the form of poetry and short prose pieces is edited for the Literature and Insights Section only and does not undergo the refereeing procedures required for all research papers published in the main body of AAAJ.
Author guidelines for contributions to this section of the journal can be found at: www.emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=aaaj
Sanders, E.F. (2014), Lost in Translation, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA