Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pet Peeve of the Day: Updation Is Not a Word

I was so interested in writing my post yesterday that I forgot to include the reason behind it. I was (rather forcibly) reminded of the nominalization problem by a post that asked which factor was more important for a successful blog, “updation” or promotion. Hence, my scolding.

To verify my nauseous reaction to this question, I researched the “word”. I found a strong consensus that its use stems from someone trying to sound "techy" or knowledgeable about programming rather than from the natural evolution of language. Apparently, the word is spreading because of database and other computer-related uses.

I found many instances of its use in the phrase “insertion, deletion, selection, and updation”.While I sympathize with the desire to make the words sound similar, as it improves flow, I suspect that this arose from an error and proliferated because people assumed that it must be a “real word” if they saw in in an official-looking venue.

Users of this neologism ignore the fact that English already provides a perfectly good noun for updating things. It's “update”. When you update your server, you may need to install an update (not perform updation) for your software. What benefit does lengthening the existing noun offer? None that I can see, except creating another buzz word for writers like me to deplore. Thanks!