Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Feel Dis-Orientated

Quick -- oriented or orientated?

I'm sort of a stickler about the English language (imagining, of course, that I have a reasonable handle on the beast). Lately, I've been hearing the word "orientated" being bandied about more and more frequently -- in conversation, on television, etc. And it's been buggin' me.

I've also been walking around all smug in the knowledge that what folks actually mean to say is "oriented." Today, with the sole intention of proving myself correct (allowing me to be even more smug in my own head -- working alone at home tends to have this effect on you, trust me) I did a quick search online -- only to discover that "orientated" is actually the common British usage. Damn. And I can't even pull out that lame argument that "we're in America here" because I always spell "theater" as "theatre." Because it's cooler. Isn't it?

I was led, however, to a site after my own heart, Mother Tongue Annoyances, which I enjoyed . . .


ColinJ said...

I think your confusion Angela may be that even whilst us non-US natives do indeed spell it as "disorientated", most of us actually often still pronounce it as "disoriented". Which obviously makes it even more disorientating for you. You'll hear the full "disorientated" said sometimes certainly, but not by the majority of us proper English users.

Btw your use of our "theatre" must cause some problems for you. For example, does your local theatre group perform at the Illinois State Theater?

Angela S. said...

Oh, I do love the English language -- is there any other language that makes so very little sense? Fun!

I had no idea about the spelling vs. pronunciation issue on this one, but bottom line is when I hear someone actually say "orientated" (or "disorientated" I suppose) it grates on my nerves. Just sounds wrong.

Anyhoo -- my use of theatre doesn't seem to bother anyone but my spellchecker, and he and I have sort of an understanding. I click the "ignore all" button a lot. Yes, I know I could just add it, but that would be far too logical . . .