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KUDOS

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KUDOS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:39 pm

• kudos •

Pronunciation: ku-dahs, ku-doz (US) • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Praise, accolades, acclaim.

Notes: Even though the Oxford English Dictionary claims that today's Good Word is singular and kudo is unacceptable, this word has been so widely mispronounced in the US, that most of us here take it as the plural. It should be in a class with pathos and have no plural, but the US media have long used kudo as though it referred to a single act of praise. The process of misanalyzing a word and creating a previously nonexistent word from it is called "backformation". Singular forms pea and cherry were created the same way from the originally singular nouns pease and cheris.

In Play: Dr. Goodword would never stand in the way of lexical progress, which often results from errors. Still, he does not encourage the kind of speech error that led to the pluralization of today's Good Word. So here is how we would use the original word: "Kudos [ku-dahs] is due whoever repaired the faucet in the ladies restroom." The new form allows statements like this: "Rhoda Book's new novel received only one kudo—from the local newspaper."

Word History: Greek kudos "fame, renown" is a noun created from the verb koein "to hear, perceive". It comes from an earlier Proto-Indo-European base that was something like skeue- "pay attention to" with a Fickle S that did not make it to Greek. It also did not make it to Latin, where it emerged as cautio(n) "wariness" or to Serbian, where today it is chuvati "watch, heed". The S did remain in the Germanic languages, however, where it turns up on German schön "beautiful" and English show from Old English sceawian. (Kudos today is owed Jackie Strauss for suggesting today's often mistaken Good word.)
Last edited by Dr. Goodword on Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Americans!

Postby David Myer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:38 pm

It's hard to believe that people anywhere actually use kudo. Do they really? I have never seen or heard of such a usage in Australia - nor in UK (to which I am admittedly less exposed).

Further, it seems to me that your definition as 'Praise' is a long way short of adequate. I have always heard and seen it used to express a 'praiseworthy or elevated status'. And you point out yourself that the Greek word means renown. It is more than that of course, but certainly closer to my understanding of the word than 'praise'. Your definition 'acclaim' is closer, but not close enough.

It seems to me that the word is a straight unadulterated use of a foreign word - in the same way as we might use, say, 'chic' from the French. We use such words because they have a nuance (another French word) that we don't have in any word in English. The English is inadequate so we use a foreign word. In such situations, it behoves us to avoid development of the word into other meanings. Our point of reference is set outside the boundaries of our own rule-setting process. We don't have the right to meddle. Indeed we have a duty to fight ill-use of the word and certainly should not allow kudo to emerge.

I should make it clear that I am not against development of language and even misuse of words. I acknowledge that 'alternate' is now almost universally used as an alternative (albeit through ignorance) to 'alternative'. The original meaning of 'alternate' as 'one after the other taking it in turns', is now nearly lost. I won't get it wrong myself, but nor will I criticise others who do! It is sadly a lost cause. But please don't let 'kudos' go the same way.
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Re: Americans!

Postby Slava » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:46 pm

David Myer wrote:But please don't let 'kudos' go the same way.
Sorry David, but as I expect you know, if it's going to happen, it will happen. Nothing you nor I nor anyone else can do about it.

However, like you, I've never heard a singular usage, and I'm an American. (EEK!)

In fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard kudos used with a verb. It's usually something along the lines of, "And kudos to the organizers of this great convention."

As to the meaning, how would you feel about kudos being the one-word equivalent to "a big hand to the..."? It's not quite praise, nor is it acclaim. But it's basically what I feel; more a sense of "Thankee muchly and congratulations on a job well done" than anything else.
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As to the meaning, how would you feel about kudos being the

Postby David Myer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:56 pm

Maybe that's how it is used in USA. But I am sure that here in Australia and probably in UK (and in Greece) it is a status that gradually accrues. It may be boosted by a particular incident. But it is not something that one person can give. The implication, if you have kudos, is that the acclaim/renown/repute is widely felt.

I expect your fatalism, Slava, is justified. You say "There's nothing anyone can do about it." But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try (forgive the double negative). In some ways, as wordsmiths and people who have taken an interest in language (often having studied it), we surely have a duty to try to guide public thinking on these issues? Articles in journals, papers at conferences, broadcast opportunities...

So, with the use of 'alternate' when 'alternative' is the right word, we should have been marching in the streets to preserve a worthwhile meaning distinction. But now that we have lost that, we can move on to the next issue.
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Re: As to the meaning, how would you feel about kudos being

Postby Slava » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:06 pm

David Myer wrote:... that doesn't mean we shouldn't try (forgive the double negative)
Is this really a double negative? It has two negatives, but they aren't quite connected, are they?

Picky, picky, picky me.

As for alternate and alternative, there is a pronunciation difference for the dual use of alternate. "Nuht" v "Nayt." However, these are the kinds of things that get wiped out over the decades.

Even odd little things. My father always said root BEER, ice CREAM. I put the accent on the first words. Was one of us wrong and the other correct?
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Nuht/nayt

Postby David Myer » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:15 pm

Nuht is surely the noun or adjective, and nayt the verb - the former means something or somebody that swaps and swaps back again (or alternayts) with another?
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Re: Nuht/nayt

Postby Slava » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:19 pm

David Myer wrote:Nuht is surely the noun or adjective, and nayt the verb - the former means something or somebody that swaps and swaps back again (or alternayts) with another?
You betcha!
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:20 pm

Interestingly, in the same week, Anu Garg in his
daily column on line has kudos as a word for the Day.
Today it reads:


MEANING:
noun: Praise, honor, or credit.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek kydos (praise, renown).


NOTES:
The word kudos is a relatively recent addition to the English language. It entered the language as university slang in Britain, in the early 19th century. It's a singular word, in Greek and in English, but its plural-like appearance prompted some to coin a singular form by dropping the letter s. Many dictionaries (including the OED) now list the word kudo, though marked with an "erroneous" stamp. If the current trends are any indication, chances are over time kudo will drop the black mark on its reputation and become a well-respected word in the language, just as no one today objects to using the word pea (instead of pease) or cherry (instead of cherise).


USAGE:
"The Indian economy continues to grow at a healthy 8%. You and your team deserves kudos for that."
Raj Chengappa; Dear Dr Manmohan Singh; The Tribune (Chandigarh, India); May 21, 2010.
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Kudos, alternate/alternative, definite/definitive

Postby Audiendus » Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:20 pm

David Myer wrote:But I am sure that here in Australia and probably in UK (and in Greece) it is a status that gradually accrues. It may be boosted by a particular incident. But it is not something that one person can give. The implication, if you have kudos, is that the acclaim/renown/repute is widely felt.

Yes, I agree. I too have never heard the word 'kudo'.

David Myer wrote:So, with the use of 'alternate' when 'alternative' is the right word, we should have been marching in the streets to preserve a worthwhile meaning distinction. But now that we have lost that, we can move on to the next issue.

In the UK, careful writers still distinguish between 'alternate' and 'alternative', so the battle is not yet lost.

Another annoying case is the recent tendency to use definitive to mean 'definite' instead of 'defining'. In correct usage, a definite answer is a firm, unequivocal one which may be right or wrong, but a definitive answer is always right because it is a defining answer, such as a ruling by a judge.
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Postby Slava » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:59 pm

Speaking of Englishes, here's a fun little thing I came across in the NYT:

The Queen's English

I wonder how she feels about "they" as a singular.
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Re: KUDOS

Postby Slava » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:03 am

Here is a new piece on kudos, from the Lingua Franca board:

http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca ... ser-kudos/
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Re: KUDOS

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:54 pm

Here in the hinterlands some flatlander introduced the word kudos to an unsophisticated public. People here toss kudos willy-nilly at every thing that moves. "Kudos to Bessie the cow. She done went and had herself a calf and has come milk fresh." I say anathema to the word kudos. The local rednecks will probably use it as a highfalutin word for the next two centuries. They have done gone and ruined the word "iconic" already. Everything that happens, everybody that is noticed is now iconic. Idiotic I say.
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Re: KUDOS

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:42 am

Hear, hear to your position on 'iconic'.
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