I find the word "whilst" exceedingly annoying...

Do
DogDutyAscetic
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 5:51 am

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:10 am Post

Ok, I'm Canadian. So, this may be an old problem-with-the-colonial-master thing, but I do find the word "whilst" more than a tad annoying and stilted. I think it should be reserved for the Queen and her immediate attendants, and maybe that Prince guy. This is not idiomatic English. I mean no offense to anyone, but I find the documentation to Scrivener peppered with the said expression to excess. Can I humbly (and with appropriate reverence for Keith) recommend the search and replace feature? The word is now "while" I believe. :mrgreen:

bu
bungalow1225
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:25 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:24 am Post

I don't find it annoying, but it does sound anachronistic to me. I associate it with one thing and one thing only:

In the 1970s I was given as a novelty gift a telephone that had been installed on board a Cunard liner of the previous era: the CARONIA. In the center of the dial was a little sign, printed in red letters, that said:

YOU MAY CALL
ANYWHERE
IN THE WORLD
WHILST AT SEA

The phone had a cloth cord and was constructed of ol' skool molded bakelite. It weighed about 10 pounds. The word in question conjures up images of Cunard clients on holiday, steaming to Durban in the late 1950s, calling "anywhere in the world whilst at sea."

User avatar
Jaysen
Posts: 6235
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:00 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: East-Be-Jesus-Nowhere SC, USA

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:45 am Post

Whilst I do agree with the concept, I wonder if we bemoan the the continued use of yester-year whilst our "modern advances" destroy the very things we hold dear.
Once, whilst the aged aged, they too moaned about the old whilst the new advanced.
Now they moan whilst their children's children act too bold.
And whilst the net pervades every day and you plus tube rots the brain of the young, we scriven to keep a dying art alive whilst no one reads.
Be forewarned that whilst we strive for commonality our prose will only flourish whilst variety prevails.

I have now used whilst more times than permitted for a non royal.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

ImageImage

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20732
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:48 am Post

I do find the word "whilst" more than a tad annoying and stilted... This is not idiomatic English.


I beg your pardon? I spent the past three years teaching primary children in a South-East London state school, and I had ten year-olds from working-class backgrounds who used the word "whilst" - not because I had taught it to them, but because it is idiomatic English, at least in England - which is where I am from. This has been picked up on elsewhere, and frankly, I find that sort of inverse snobbishness more than a tad annoying. This is how I speak and how I write (and I was educated at a comprehensive school, not some posh British public school), so whilst* I appreciate that you don't mean offence (I hope my spelling of "offence" is not offensive to anyone ;) ), I'm sure you can appreciate that you may have inadvertently caused some, just as, I wouldn't doubt, I might cause you some offence should I start asking you to use British spelling, phrasings and colloquialisms on this forum rather than those natural to your own speech and writing patterns.

Regards,
Keith

* I didn't even notice I had used this "whilst" until I re-read this, because "whilst" is not an affectation but a normal part of speech and writing for myself and many Brits.

Pl
Plette
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:26 am Post

I too am Canadian, but I also lived in the UK for a time, and I can offer testimony that it's just a regional thing.

In Canada the word is never seen aside from the occasional 200-year-old inscription on some impressive-looking building. In Britain it's everywhere from adverts to toaster manuals to the drunken mumblings of undergrads. I certainly noticed the difference, but I found it rather endearingly amusing.

I am sure (hopeful?) that the original poster meant no offence. Just chafing under the yoke and all that. Canadians are genuinely worried about having Charles on our notes, you know ;-)

Incidentally, we use British/Canadian spelling in Canada, so I promise we won't complain about that!

(Edited to add: In the UK, a "state school" is what Americans/Canadians would call a public school, and a "public school" is what Americans/Canadians would call a private school. Just wanted to clarify, in case anyone was confused by that bit in KB's post. In North America a "posh public school" would be a bit of an oxymoron.)

th
thewolfgang
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:23 pm

Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:57 am Post

I don't like the word flautist.

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20732
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:57 am Post

I'm not big on the idea of having Charles on our notes, either. :) There seems to be a misconception that all Brits are upper-class twits who love the monarchy (not helped by Hugh Grant in leading roles). Whereas in reality, of course, it wasn't just the "Empire" outside of Britain that had to endure the rule of the British aristocracy, drinking tea and acting superior, but also the majority of the British population. (I have not the words to describe my disgust at Boris Johnson becoming Mayor of London; it is only slightly less than the disgust I felt towards the tweed-suited twits who rode a London underground train I was on a few years ago after they had finished their countryside-alliance march demanding their God-given rights to have their dogs chase and tear apart foxes - their loud high-nostrilled voices trilled on and on about how they were slumming it on this quaint "tube" thing; to this day I have no idea how it was that they even survived the journey.) As you say, "whilst" is common here (more in written than in spoken English). It may be becoming less popular (having just looked it up following this thread it seems that the Times and Guardian style guides require "while" rather than "whilst" these days), but I don't really feel like retraining and editing myself just because a natural part of my language is found to be annoying by somebody who uses a different variation of that language... It would be as presumptuous as me writing to any US company and telling them that I find their spelling of "color" annoying and asking them to replace it with "colour", or demanding that French people refrain from using "homage" or Italians from using "al dente", because such terms are clearly pretentious (when used in English, in my putative opinion).

I'm at the tail end of my SF trip and knackered (I'm going all out for British colloquialisms now :) ), so I may be grumpy and not exactly vim and vigour at the moment, but I still think the op is bang out of order, 'guv.

All the best,
Keith

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20732
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:00 am Post

Plette wrote:(Edited to add: In the UK, a "state school" is what Americans/Canadians would call a public school, and a "public school" is what Americans/Canadians would call a private school. Just wanted to clarify, in case anyone was confused by that bit in KB's post. In North America a "posh public school" would be a bit of an oxymoron.)


Heh heh. We like to annoy further by confusing the issue. :)

thewolfgang wrote:I don't like the word flautist.


Right. So now you want me to go through the Help file and remove every reference to flautists, huh? HUH?

Pl
Plette
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:58 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:21 am Post

Down with flautists! And Hugh Grant. I dislike that man more than should be possible, given that I have never met him.

May various deities help us all if Hugh Grant is ever cast as a foppish, boyishly charming flautist.

th
thewolfgang
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:23 pm

Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:31 am Post

But flutist I like.

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20732
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:42 am Post

Whilst flutist I like. :P

No
Novatlan
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:54 pm

Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:29 am Post

*Whilst* I, too prefere "colour" over "color" (if only because it is a bit longer; I like long words - do you know the German "Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitänspatentanwärterscheinedruckereidirektorenschubladeneinlage"?) you should _really_ get to know the kind of English taught at German universities.
Whilst I am learning British English (including the wonderful RP pronunciation, to this day I have never met any Brits speaking like this...), usually you learn a kind of mixture here. It is really, really disgusting. Spelling constantly changes between British and American, which is severed by American english used in advertising.
Due to reasons unknown to me, Germans somehow like to use English all the time - which usually goes in hand with the most severe crimes on English and German grammar.
So believe me... *whilst* is probably the tiniest problem you may encounter when dealing with English... at least here.
By the way: I like whilst :)

User avatar
hamishmacdonald
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:28 am
Platform: Windows
Location: Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Contact:

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:54 pm Post

You know which word I hate? Utilize. It's like the speaker isn't confident we'd be sufficiently impressed if he only used a thing. "Oh, you utilized it. Well that's much more thorough."

I'm a copywriter ('cause that pays for the novel-writing), and I find that corporate people fall into this trap of linguistic over-reaching when they're not confident about the substance of what they're saying. It's like a lie-detector test. "This new form should be utilized and all arising questions directed to myself." Ouch.
Last edited by hamishmacdonald on Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
- Hamish MacDonald
...........................................................
http://www.hamishmacdonald.com

User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:56 pm Post

Novatlan wrote:Whilst I am learning British English (including the wonderful RP pronunciation, to this day I have never met any Brits speaking like this...)

Come on holiday to Xiamen, and I can guarantee you'll meet one. :wink:

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
iMac 27" (late 2015) 10.15.4, 24GB RAM, 512GB SSID
MBP17" (late 2011) 10.13.6, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSID
2017 iPad, iPadOS 13.3, 128GB, Apple Pencil
Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …

User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 4370
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:59 pm Post

hamishmacdonald wrote:You know which word I hate? Utilize. It's like the speaker isn't confident that we'd be impressed if he just used the darned thing. "Oh, you utilized it. Well that's much more thorough."

The one that sets my teeth on edge to the greatest degree is expiration as found on web sites asking for credit card information. Sorry, cousins across the pond, but I am a Brit, though unlike the eminent KB, I did have to suffer the indignities of an, albeit very minor, public school.

:)

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
iMac 27" (late 2015) 10.15.4, 24GB RAM, 512GB SSID
MBP17" (late 2011) 10.13.6, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSID
2017 iPad, iPadOS 13.3, 128GB, Apple Pencil
Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …