Kudos> - formal or informal?

Rayines

Senior Member
Castellano/Argentina
Please: I've read it in the Forums for the first (¡!) time, and I saw that it means congratulations. Can anyone explain to me its colloquial use (is it a more informal expression, a more modern one, is it mainly used in Internet?).Thanks!
 
  • Sca

    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish/ English
    Inés: Merrian Webster te da una excelente explicación. Nunca lo escuché en la calle, pero es bastante usado en la prensa escrita (al menos ´Down Under´)
    :) :)
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi Inéz;

    Kudos is a "now" word to say "Good job", "You've done well" and congratulations.

    "you won't get any kudos for that job!" meaning that it wasn't a job well done.

    "Kudos on your new job!" meaning: Congratulations on your new job.

    simple, no?

    It is a fairly (in my opinion only!) cute and overused word these days. Just another one to add to my list :rolleyes:

    To be very clear: It is a modern word and is used colloquially.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Either I misunderstand, or we are missing a key point here.

    Kudos is not a measure of real value, but is a measure of the cynical, self-interested value of something.

    To say "there is no kudos in that" conveys no sense of the real value of the job. Only that doing it will have no career-enhancing, personal aggrandisement value.

    "He's only in it for the kudos," - he's blatantly exploiting the efforts of others in order to further himself, and he's not making any real contribution.

    "You won't get any kudos for that," means, to me, that even if you do a really brilliant job, the task is not considered to be sufficiently up-front or glamorous to be attractive to rat-race entrants.


    CAUTION:
    Based on what I find by Googling, this may be an over-sophisticated attribution of meaning, somewhat ahead of its time.
    But it is very real in my context - it is glory for glory's sake.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    panjandrum said:
    Based on what I find by Googling, this may be an over-sophisticated attribution of meaning, somewhat ahead of its time.

    Maybe on the cutting edge, if not distinctly "ahead." Ahead of the pack you and Herr Dr Google just surveyed, anyway.

    I hear an ironic note in kudos too, but to me the AE use of the word picks up on that mock-ceremonious tone we like to strike, dignified and hinting at erudition, but self-conscious about venturing into the rarified air above everyday-speech-level. "Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking" and all that.

    Kudos to so-and-so is like saying "oh, bra vo!" in fairly sincere praise, not so much disparaging the praised act or performance-- as waxing diffident about finding exceptional words to do so withal.

    There! I knew it would happen sooner or later. I'm glad I forwent the temptation to gin up a context where withal could pop out, rather than letting it happen spontaneously. And I deny any diffidence about using inkhorn terms.

    As for what you added, kudos for a neat summation of the cynical end of the connotation spectrum for that word. Disingenuous praise for something done for the sake of praise-- we need a term for that, and kudos is an excellent choice. I'll pass the word on this side of the moat.


    Oh fie! I just noticed the phrase "..a context where withal could pop out"...where withal...? Inadvertent, I swear.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    foxfirebrand said:
    Oh fie! I just noticed the phrase "..a context where withal could pop out"...where withal...? Inadvertent, I swear.
    CHUCKLE! These things are bound to emerge coincidentally from a brain that is swimming with inkhorn terms - the subconscious will jiggle the sentence to insistently insert where before withal whether the conscious likes it or not.

    PS: thanks for inkhorn - what a charming word. I hadn't come across it with this meaning before:thumbsup:
     

    Inara

    Senior Member
    panjandrum said:
    CHUCKLE! These things are bound to emerge coincidentally from a brain that is swimming with inkhorn terms - the subconscious will jiggle the sentence to insistently insert where before withal whether (!!!)the conscious likes it or not.
    May I ask, what are you, guys are talking about?
    panjandrum said:
    PS: thanks for inkhorn - what a charming word. I hadn't come across it with this meaning before:thumbsup:
    Nor had I come across this word, neither have found it in WR dictionary.
    The word "withal" IS there but still I have no idea what did Foxfare wanted to say and I feel sad about it :(
    foxfirebrand said:
    I knew it would happen sooner or later. I'm glad I forwent the temptation to gin up a context where withal could pop out, rather than letting it happen spontaneously. And I deny any diffidence about using inkhorn terms.
    :eek:

    Inara
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Inara,

    I apologise for any confusion created by this exchange.

    I will now try to explain.

    Those of us who are very fond of words and the delights of unusual and often archaic English words cannot often use them words in our normal lives. But they often genuinely arise in this forum - either because someone has specifically asked about them or because they are being used as examples of out-dated language. For me, this is part of the immense charm of WR - I am not alone, and will be understood if I use such words.



    I should also say that I would myself, routinely, use words that seem rather quaint and old-fashioned (quaint being one of them). I had a few comments when first I chuckled here



    Enough background (or was that confession?)



    An ink-horn, or inkhorn is exactly what it implies - well, to be honest, it WAS exactly what it implies. Way back in the days before the pc, before the biro pen, even before the fountain pen, we used pens that we dipped into the ink in order to write. Going back to before the days when glass was common, the ink was contained in a small piece of animal horn with a stopper - an ink-horn.



    More recently the word was adopted as an adjective to describe words, or use of language, that is uncommon in speech and becoming old-fashioned, or excessively literary, in writing (the first quotation of this use is dated 1543).



    So when foxfirebrand referred to "inkhorn terms", he meant words that are now rarely used. The word inkhorn is, itself, an inkhorn term.



    Other threads, where both foxfirebrand and I have posted, have discussed several of these words and their usage.



    Now, if I take the quotations from your last post in turn, starting at the bottom and working up, I may be able to explain...



    Originally Posted by foxfirebrand
    I knew it would happen sooner or later. I'm glad I forwent the temptation to gin up a context where withal could pop out, rather than letting it happen spontaneously. And I deny any diffidence about using inkhorn terms.


    He has used four "odd" words here.

    Forwent is meant to be the past tense of forgo (an inkhorn word).

    Gin up is, I think, entirely AE slang, meaning to make up, to create deliberately.

    Withal is another inkhorn word, meaning more or less the same as with, or in addition to.

    ...And inkhorn, of course.

    Translated, the second sentence becomes:

    I'm glad that I did not let myself invent a context where I could use the word "withal" instead of waiting until I used it naturally.



    At the end of that post:

    foxfirebrand said:
    Oh fie! I just noticed the phrase "..a context where withal could pop out"...where withal...? Inadvertent, I swear.
    Fie - another inkhorn word.


    Withal - again.

    ffb is referring to his earlier sentence (quoted above) in which "where" and "withal" are beside one another - and therefore made ffb think of another inkhorn word "wherewithal".



    Your middle quote, from my post, does not, of course, need any explanation



    Originally Posted by panjandrum

    CHUCKLE! These things are bound to emerge coincidentally from a brain that is swimming with inkhorn terms - the subconscious will jiggle the sentence to insistently insert where before withal whether (!!!)the conscious likes it or not.


    I know that ffb has been using inkhorn terms a lot, and we have both been enjoying this. For him, these words are now part of the strange process we all use to convert our thoughts into the written word.

    I am suggesting that because of this, when his brain was assembling the sentence using “withal” – it subconsciously made the connection with “where” – because of his love of the word “wherewithal” (used in another thread).

    As a result, although he did not mean it consciously, the sentence that he wrote, including “…where withal…” was not an accident.



    I then have to confess to falling for the temptation to write my last whimsical sentence without punctuation – entirely because I really love the idea of that little cluster of words appearing together “…where before withal whether…” Doesn’t that make you chuckle?



    That bit of the sentence would be clearer if I had written:

    “…ffb will subconsciously will alter the sentence to make sure that it includes “where” before “withal”, whether his conscious mind is aware of it or not.


    foxfirebrand may have an entirely different story:)

    Panj
     

    Inara

    Senior Member
    ok :) thank you for explaining, Panj. I just hope one day I would be able to join this kind of conversation :)
    Inés, I am not a translater, I have just failed (today!) to enter Translation Faculty:thumbsdown:
     

    Rayines

    Senior Member
    Castellano/Argentina
    Inés, I am not a translater...
    Oh!, Inara, but I imagine you have Russian in your background, you're learning Spanish, and of course you know English. Admirable:thumbsup:! And here thanks to you I could understand a little more the discussion:) . (Sorry the Fac.)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Thanks Panj-- your explanation was great, and does me a real service since I PM'd Inara promising a reply but begging off due to fatigue. Then I wake up this morning with a verbal burr under my saddle, and have pounded out 9 pages of fictive drivel in only 4 hours, and my eyes are shot for a while.

    Your post leaves nothing for me to add, except for one detail. When I mentioned "wherewithal" some time ago, I said I was probably just about the only AE speaker you'll ever meet who says things like "I forwent" and uses withal without the where. An example happened finally, with relative spontaneity, and immediately thereafter (as you noticed, and noted) I used the one with the other, willy-nilly.

    What you said about it being the unconscious at work was apt, and such an idea is also part of my take on what "willy-nilly" means.

    Now to my cot-- please excuse the typos, as I typed the whole thing with my eyes closed.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    I learned the word kudos many years ago reading Time Magazine. Time had (maybe still has, I haven't read it lately) a column each week named Kudos listing various awards and honors that people of note had received. Things like:
    President George Bush was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Yale University in May 2001. Both his father and his grandfather received the same degree.
     

    Phryne

    Senior Member
    Argieland--Esp/Eng
    Like an Angel said:
    Thank you very much panjandrum, foxfirebrand and Edwin (I was worry if it was pronounced cudos or quiudos -in Spanish-, but everything is sorted out), thanks again!!!

    Cheers!:)
    Nana, with the buzzing "z" as in the bee sound, as your teacher say! :D

    cudoz, o quiudoz

    besinhos!
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    So it's not quite settled? I agree about the final z or voiced-s sound, but that goes for AE.

    It seemed to me that panj gave a second example starting with the ky sound, or quiudos as you transliterated for Spanish-speakers. And panj also used a double -ss, indicating to me at least an unvoiced s, as in Spanish. A speaker who harkened back to the Greek might also think of the word as singular and even use it that way.

    I know Greek only as a vague rumor, but I'd guess the second BE variant pronounces the word after the original, so that the o sound is probably not as long as it sounds in AE.

    Finally, the ky- to me indicates that the u must have been an upsilon, in which case the first syllable as pronounced by a French speaker would be even closer to the original.

    Well, I sure get going, don't I? Not to the detriment of clarity I hope! Let's just say you now have a range of correct choices, depending on what side of the Atlantic you're on.
     

    Phryne

    Senior Member
    Argieland--Esp/Eng
    foxfirebrand said:
    So it's not quite settled? I agree about the final z or voiced-s sound, but that goes for AE.

    It seemed to me that panj gave a second example starting with the ky sound, or quiudos as you transliterated for Spanish-speakers. And panj also used a double -ss, indicating to me at least an unvoiced s, as in Spanish. A speaker who harkened back to the Greek might also think of the word as singular and even use it that way.

    I know Greek only as a vague rumor, but I'd guess the second BE variant pronounces the word after the original, so that the o sound is probably not as long as it sounds in AE.

    Finally, the ky- to me indicates that the u must have been an upsilon, in which case the first syllable as pronounced by a French speaker would be even closer to the original.

    Well, I sure get going, don't I? Not to the detriment of clarity I hope! Let's just say you now have a range of correct choices, depending on what side of the Atlantic you're on.
    Hi foxfirebrand!

    Are you saying that they plural form as a voiced sound is only used in AmEn???? :confused:

    Thanks!
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    No, both voiced and unvoiced s sounds are used in AE and BE. I specifically mentioned AE because panj gave examples that seemed to differ.

    I later thought the unvoiced-s sound might be the result of pronouncing the word more closely to the original Greek.

    If I said I was growing red chilis in the garden, I would use a z sound for the plural, because the "borrowed word" chili is part of commonplace AE vocabulary.

    If I said I was fixing chilis rellenos for breakfast, I would use an s sound because the much more specialized term hasn't "assimilated" into the vocabulary completely. It feels to me more like I'm quoting the term than saying it, using it out of my working vocabulary.

    Maybe that's because it's a treat! I'd cook eggzz five days a week, and then decide on something special like huevosss rancherosss, and I might even roll the rrr a little.

    I guess it boils down to whether you're using "foreign" terms naively or self-consciously. People who pick up kudos by word-of-mouth with the rest of their language won't necessarily know its origin. If you know a word's etymology, there's a tendency to preserve a little of the original pronunciation. Sometimes it's unconscious, sometimes it's pretentious, and sometimes there's a bit of xenophobic mockery involved.

    I hope I answered your question. It was misleading of me to ascribe panj's variants to AE/BE differences.
     

    Phryne

    Senior Member
    Argieland--Esp/Eng
    foxfirebrand said:
    No, both voiced and unvoiced s sounds are used in AE and BE. I specifically mentioned AE because panj gave examples that seemed to differ.

    I later thought the unvoiced-s sound might be the result of pronouncing the word more closely to the original Greek.

    If I said I was growing red chilis in the garden, I would use a z sound for the plural, because the "borrowed word" chili is part of commonplace AE vocabulary.

    If I said I was fixing chilis rellenos for breakfast, I would use an s sound because the much more specialized term hasn't "assimilated" into the vocabulary completely. It feels to me more like I'm quoting the term than saying it, using it out of my working vocabulary.

    Maybe that's because it's a treat! I'd cook eggzz five days a week, and then decide on something special like huevosss rancherosss, and I might even roll the rrr a little.

    I guess it boils down to whether you're using "foreign" terms naively or self-consciously. People who pick up kudos by word-of-mouth with the rest of their language won't necessarily know its origin. If you know a word's etymology, there's a tendency to preserve a little of the original pronunciation. Sometimes it's unconscious, sometimes it's pretentious, and sometimes there's a bit of xenophobic mockery involved.

    I hope I answered your question. It was misleading of me to ascribe panj's variants to AE/BE differences.
    You did answer my question, thanks! ;)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just to be clear - well clearer...
    queue'doss
    or
    koo'doss
    Is the BE pronunciation, - doss rhyming with boss, hoss, joss, loss, moss or toss.

    - and kudos IS singular - as glory is singular.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Merriam-Webster seems to be self-contradictory on the pronunciation of kudos. I find the following two entries. The first is an entry for kudos, the second for kudo. It seems that kudos ends with an s sound, but the plural of kudo, also spelled kudos, ends with a z sound. Go figure!

    Main Entry: kudos
    Pronunciation: 'kü-"däs, 'kyü-, -"dOs
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Greek kydos
    1 : fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : PRESTIGE
    2 : praise given for achievement

    Main Entry: kudo
    Pronunciation: 'kü-(")dO, 'kyü-
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural kudos /-(")dOz/
    Etymology: back-formation from kudos (taken as a plural)
    1 : AWARD, HONOR <a score of honorary degrees and... other kudos -- Time>
    2 : COMPLIMENT, PRAISE <to all three should go some kind of special kudo for refusing to succumb -- Al Hine>
    usage Some commentators hold that since kudos is a singular word it cannot be used as a plural and that the word kudo is impossible. But kudo does exist; it is simply one of the most recent words created by back-formation from another word misunderstood as a plural. Kudos was introduced into English in the 19th century; it was used in contexts where a reader unfamiliar with Greek could not be sure whether it was singular or plural. By the 1920s it began to appear as a plural, and about 25 years later kudo began to appear. It may have begun as a misunderstanding, but then so did cherry and pea.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I was rather afraid that kudo would appear here:(

    OED's first kudo quotation is dated 1941, but I rather prefer the next one. It is, I feel, especially appropriate to the perversion of the word itself, and I would like to think it had been written with that intent:
    1950 F. ALLEN in G. Marx Groucho Lett. (1967) 73 A man sitting on a toilet bowl swung open the men's room door and added his kudo to the acclaim.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    panjandrum said:
    F. ALLEN in G. Marx Groucho Lett. (1967) 73 A man sitting on a toilet bowl swung open the men's room door and added his kudo to the acclaim.

    ---a continuous gentle sound resembling suppressed mirth---
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I'm not as dismayed by back-formation as some seem to be-- without it, how could anyone have an agenda? But I'm also a sporadic stickler-- for example, I still use criterion if there is only one.

    No, I cringe with distaste from kudo because it fails to meet another criterion of good style-- it violates the logic of the word itself. Kudos involve a special mention, and while there is an element of irony in the use of the word sometimes, I don't think sarcasm in the form of "faint praise" is appropriate. As long as you're going to the trouble to give kudos-- you can't manage more than a measly one?

    I'm also puzzled by the scant praise given to Marxist humor here. If it were so lowbrow, why did Robert Benchley allow Harpo Marx to throw in his paltry two-bits'-worth among the elite of the erudite who sat around a certain Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel?

    I think "added his kudo" might've been ironic and stylishly déclassé, in keeping with the setting-- meant as a sendup or travesty of whatever it was that was being praised in the first place.

    British comedy doesn't do this? What about Mrs. Malaprop?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    foxfirebrand said:
    [...] I'm also puzzled by the scant praise given to Marxist humor here. [...] I think "added his kudo" might've been ironic and stylishly déclassé, in keeping with the setting-- meant as a sendup or travesty of whatever it was that was being praised in the first place. [...]
    That is certainly how I read it - and why I liked it:) - and why I thought it would amuse others here:D
    Perhaps my admiration was a little too understated?
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Well gee, now that I reread the post you not only heard the same irony and intentionality in the quote, you said as much. I'll have to muster a little more vigilance for your verbal nuances, as much as I try to exercise with Harpo Marx's.
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    Edwin said:
    I learned the word kudos many years ago reading Time Magazine. Time had (maybe still has, I haven't read it lately) a column each week named Kudos listing various awards and honors that people of note had received. Things like:

    Thank you for the amusing interchange of wisdom. I've learnt a lot from you.

    I couldn't help but notice Edwin's pick of an example for kudos in Time mag:
    President George Bush was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Yale University in May 2001. Both his father and his grandfather received the same degree.
    So, may we finally settle for the 'ironic note' that both foxfirebrand and panjadrum hear rattling in the word?​
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    To me the ironic thing about the honorary DLL from Yale arises from the fact that Bush really did earn a Master's degree from that same institution. What's ironic is the way his academic achievement worked against him in politics.

    The only election George W Bush ever lost was for a state-assemly seat from his West Texas district, back in the 80s. Analyzing the defeat afterwards, his handlers decided Bush had lost because he came across as a smarty-assed college type who'd gone to Yale.

    Bush vowed never to make that mistake again, and has taken what I think can be called real pains, to come off as "just folks" ever since-- no easy task for a man of his mental acuity. Of course if you want to think a genuine dummy is capable of doing what it takes to get a Presidential nomination and win the election (twice!), that's up to you. Me, I don't believe everything I see on TV and read about in the press. Especially about Republicans-- Reagan (the Cold War) was portrayed as an idiot too, and so was Eisenhower (WWII). Ike used to joke privately about the way his rambling syntactic divagations kept the press at bay. They developed a what's-the-use attitude toward asking him difficult questions, ended up not getting their job done-- and copped a superior attitude toward it all!
     

    josama

    Senior Member
    Colombia, Spanish
    foxfirebrand said:
    To me the ironic thing about the honorary DLL from Yale arises from the fact that Bush really did earn a Master's degree from that same institution. What's ironic is the way his academic achievement worked against him in politics.

    The only election George W Bush ever lost was for a state-assemly seat from his West Texas district, back in the 80s. Analyzing the defeat afterwards, his handlers decided Bush had lost because he came across as a smarty-assed college type who'd gone to Yale.

    Bush vowed never to make that mistake again, and has taken what I think can be called real pains, to come off as "just folks" ever since-- no easy task for a man of his mental acuity. Of course if you want to think a genuine dummy is capable of doing what it takes to get a Presidential nomination and win the election (twice!), that's up to you. Me, I don't believe everything I see on TV and read about in the press. Especially about Republicans-- Reagan (the Cold War) was portrayed as an idiot too, and so was Eisenhower (WWII). Ike used to joke privately about the way his rambling syntactic divagations kept the press at bay. They developed a what's-the-use attitude toward asking him difficult questions, ended up not getting their job done-- and copped a superior attitude toward it all!

    Thank you for your... how do you say that in English... ever bright teachings or something like that :)

    You're right. Granted. For n-th time in my life I've learnt I have to take everything I get from the media with a little piece of distrust.

    But, since he won the re-election I've thought that he's not, indeed, a stupid man at all. What I still think, is that he's not an accountable person. I don't know about all that Michael Moore's gossipping or live in the States, but guess what? I live in the rest of the World, and maybe I have different opinions on that matter. This is not the thread, so I won't say what I think of his policies and the way he affects the World.

    (sorry for having added the politics topic to the conversation, which is the #1 rule of manners)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I don't consider singular kudos and kudo to be either modern or informal. They've both been around a long time. People don't say kudo or plural kudos (that is, with the final consonant pronounced /z/) because they are trying to be hip and contemporary. They use it that way because that is how they have heard that version used, and I would expect that most people who use it that way are unaware of any controversy.

    The Oxford English Dictionary identifies kudos (encompassing both forms of the word) as being both slang and colloquial. The other, derived Oxford Dictionaries available online identify them as informal. But those are the only dictionaries online[1] which I know to have printed versions which do so. I could well imagine both forms being used in a very formal setting—this being totally aside from the question of whether kudos as a plural should be considered an error or not.

    [1]The Oxford English Dictionary is available online to those who have a private subscription, or who are able to access it through a subscription of their company or local library.
     
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