Sep 092008

Apple has issued a press release.

“iPod touch is the funnest iPod we’ve ever created,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.

The use of the word “funnest” could be seen as another sign that Apple is sliding into slapdash language use, but perhaps “funnest” is acceptable in American English, or perhaps Apple has chosen its words very carefully. Let us check with some American authorities… reports “No results found for funnest“.

Merriam-Webster generously allows “Inflected Form(s): sometimes fun·ner; sometimes fun·nest” – but should we trust a dictionary that doesn’t even indicate that these “inflected form(s)” are meant to be (in grammatical terms) superlatives? That’s what they are called, M-W. (yes, the definition of “authority” is being stretched now to support a position; well spotted – but at least the writer in this case knows what a superlative is) opines that “funnest” is “humorous, intentionally incorrect, nonstandard”.

Urban Dictionary considers the word to be urban enough to warrant a listing.

World Wide Words explores the transition of the word “fun” from noun to adjective and concludes that “what we’re seeing here is language evolution in action” but that “funnest” is a word that “should still be avoided when speaking or writing standard or formal English”.

Of course, iPods are not formal! They are fun! In fact they are funnest! That, presumably, is Apple’s take on this. But MacDonald’s take on the verb “love” was that “I’m loving it” was acceptable English, and that ugly construction is now ubiquitous.

The iPod Touch is demonstrated in this video, and you are unlikely to be disappointed by its features. How will Apple improve on this model in years to come? Perhaps they will have to make it even more funnest…

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