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  • Betrifft


    Recently I keep hearing "concerning" in the sense of "worrying", e.g. "That is very concerning."

    Since I only recall it being used in interviews ón American television, often by the same people who start most replies with "So . . .", I was wondering:

    Is this a recent development or has it been around (in AE) for a while?
    Is it also being used in BE, and I just haven't been listening to the right people?
    VerfasserMikeE (236602) 02 Nov. 13, 14:03
    Auch im BE gibt es das (allerdings ohne Nachweise in google.books;also vielleicht relativ neuer Ausdruck und/oder Journalismussprache?)

    Indeed, for Labour to now be in a position of such unchallenged power is very concerning.

    Continuing contraction in the construction sector very concerning

    Many young people do not have a diagnosis at the time of their admission, but often their distress and behaviour is very concerning for them and other People

    #1Verfasser wienergriessler (925617) 02 Nov. 13, 14:09
    I suspect it's a relatively recent development in AE too. That's not just my perception apparently - see comments below the article:

    #2Verfasser SD3 (451227) 02 Nov. 13, 14:28
    Google's Ngram viewer provides a frequency count, in graph form, of the appearance of specified phrases in the large corpus of books that they have scanned.

    It looks like the phrase "is very concerning" has exploded in usage in the past 15 years.

    #3Verfasser eric (new york) (63613) 02 Nov. 13, 15:22

    The Google Ngram data seems to confirm that it's more established in AE.
    Interestingly it seems to have been used in a few American books in the late seventies and then faded out for a while.

    I suppose politicians and the like think it's OK to be concerned but being worried would be a sign of weakness.
    #4VerfasserMikeE (236602) 02 Nov. 13, 16:21
    many UK results for "is very concerning"; I have no evidence, but would say "concerning" in the sense of "worrying" was idiomatic in the UK in the 1950s-60s. I left the UK in the 1960s so I have no idea whether usage has changed since then. https://www.google.co.uk/#q=%22is+very+concer...
    #5Verfassermikefm (760309) 02 Nov. 13, 16:35

    The Google Ngram data seems to confirm that it's more established in AE.

    I don't understand. Why do you say that?
    #6Verfasser eric (new york) (63613) 03 Nov. 13, 02:09
    Belatedly, I too see it as a very recent and not entirely welcome development, and it wouldn't surprise me if Americans were the first culprits, or if your take on it as a bit euphemistic (#4) was entirely right.

    I believe there was even another relatively recent question about it, IIRC where someone suggested it as a possible translation and others of us said that something else might be preferable. But I can't remember what the German word was that was probably the thread title.
    #7Verfasser hm -- us (236141) 03 Nov. 13, 02:40
    I don't PARTICULARLY like such use of "concerning," but I am more than 50 years old and have lived in (a variety of parts of) the USA, and have (at least occasionally) heard that expression during my entire life. When I hear it, though, I feel a bit uncomfortable about it. I personally don't like to so use that word.
    #8VerfasserHappyWarrior (964133) 03 Nov. 13, 02:46
    Ah sorry, I meant if you select the American and British corpora separately.

    You can put them on one chart with

    is very concerning:eng_gb_2012,is very concerning:eng_us_2012,is very worrying:eng_gb_2012,is very worrying:eng_us_2012



    #7 I must have missed the other thread.

    What I also find interesting is that "is very worrrying" seems to be more common in BE and that the Brits seemed to stop worrying around 1975, which seems odd considering what I remember of the political situation in the seventies (financial crisis, oil crisis, three-day week, Harold Wilson . . .)
    #9VerfasserMikeE (236602) 04 Nov. 13, 11:30

    Thanks. I didn't realize that it was possible to designate specific corpora when entering phrases. Interesting. I've just looked at Help and Advanced Help for the Ngram viewer and discovered lots of interesting features.

    Of course, I wonder how reliable the underlying data are; in particular, how does Google Books identify a text as AE or BE?

    English-language books may be published in Britain or in the US, but often the imprint shows New York - London - Paris, etc. Books are often edited and targeted for a global English-speaking audience. And what about English-language books written/published not in Britain or the US?

    It would be more legitimate to identify newspapers as BE or AE, because they are more clearly tied to specific locations. But I don't think those are included in the Google Books corpus.
    #10Verfasser eric (new york) (63613) 04 Nov. 13, 17:37

    Discovering interesting features is a bit like "living in interesting times"! (8-)
    #11VerfasserMikeE (236602) 05 Nov. 13, 02:27
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