Case Study: TRIZ and Language Evolution. Part 2.

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

The first article on this subject, in the last month's issue of The Anti TRIZ Journal, tested an applicability of Ideality to language evolution. It found that this law is applicable, but in reverse. Language as a communication tool shows a tendency to evolve toward a decreased Ideality.

This article tests another law of technical systems evolution, the mono - bi - poly law of TRIZ.

According to this law, systems evolve from a single object to a pair to a set of similar objects, and each step of this evolution enhances the system qualitatively.

Does this tendency exist in evolution of language? Yes, it does. Collections of examples are gathered in works of Robert Hartwell Fiske, the editor and publisher of The Vocabula Review (, an online journal about the English language.

Does it enhance the language systems? No, it does not. It creates a subset of what Fiske calls in The Dimwit's Dictionary (Marion Street Press, 2002), "Wretched redundancies... many words where few would do... their expression is but impoverished; more words do not necessarily signify more meaning."

Here are a few examples from the book quoted above.

"Any and all accidental needle sticks must be reported to the physician at once." The clearer phrase would be, "All accidental needle sticks must be reported to the physician at once."

"We welcome any and all comments and suggestions regarding this project." Should be, "We welcome any comments and suggestions regarding this project."

Any and all is a bi-system, which weakens a function of any and all.

"I married him only because of the fact that his family has money." A single because does much better: "I married him only because his family has money."

"Denial is a component part of dying." Either component or part should be deleted to make the statement more effective: "Denial is a component of dying" or "Denial is a part of dying."

"Equally as important, this program provides comprehensive preventive coverage." Either equally or as should be deleted to make the statement more effective.

"That's one of the things we have under consideration, but no final decision has been made." Simply delete final.

"Forewarn your clients that they might be stared at by locals." Should be replaced by a single warn.

The examples go on. Language certainly shows the mono - by - poly tendency, but this is a devolutional rather than evolutional tendency. This result is inconsistent with TRIZ, but it is quite consistent with the previous result of evolution toward a decreased Ideality.