But the way the world is, and the way that there’s more and more people, more and more doctors are needed — I mean, it’s already happening now that people are doing jobs now that they’re not really qualified for because they get, they get sort of, err.. what’s the word.. sort of uppered too early.
Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Podcast Bonus Disc Track 3
I love the comedy of Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant (creators of The Office) and their collaborations with their friend Karl Pilkington. But they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; critically acclaimed and hated in equal measure. But anyway, I love listening to the three of them and their podcasts.
Karl Pilkington sometimes comes out with very Northern or very made-up words which are amusing (to me, at least), such as “wroted”, “pikelet”, and “badder”. And he gets mocked by Gervais and Merchant for this. However, when I recently heard him say “uppered” to mean “promoted” (as in a job), I had to pause the podcast.
It was beautiful, it was perfect. Gervais mocked him, said that it was primitive language. But I think it’s great. I mean, we do say “to down [the drink/ship]” and “to up [the stakes]”, which are prepositions turned into verbs. And we have similar adjectives to “upper” also turn into verbs such as “to lower”. So why not “to upper”? Of course, “to upper” could mean any number of things and might not needfully mean “to promote”. But I don’t see anything against the rules of English in making a verb “to upper”, from the adjective “upper”, with the meaning “to promote [in a job]”.
I momentarily thought that we might say “to higher” instead, but that would get mixed up with the same-sounding “to hire”. Speaking of which, why do we bother with “to employ” at all when we can equally say “to hire” and “to give work to”? Also, why say “job”, but we can usually say “work” instead or “workplace” instead?
I think it’s about time that we demystify and dejargonise the workplace (particularly important considering the topic of my piece “Rationalisation Measures“).
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© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
Pikelet is a perfectly ordinary word, meaning a flater form of crumpet. Originally welsh, I think.
Hi Ian, thank you for your comment. It may be a perfectly ordinary word — for you! But not for me, or Gervais, or many other southerners. Out of interest, where are you from?
I’m from Wigan (now live in Scotland, but clearly my language was ‘formed’ in Lancashire.
Ah, okay, that explains it then! Definitely a northernism. Don’t know that anyone has heard of a “pikelet” down here. Good word, though.
Interesting. it’s apparently not known in (Highland) Scotland either, but is known by Kiwis.