Thursday 5 November 2009, 5.09pm HKT
Updated 26 Jan 2013 (photo)
NOTHING opens up your eyes (or your anger) than a mind stuck in its own smartness. The Naked Listener is sick and tired of having to explain things to people who ask but won’t listen, and then even turn the tables back on you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the English adjective resourceful.
There is a massive difference in how this word is understood between native (born) English speakers and the rest of the world. But the real eye-openers are in Asia.
(You can tell this post is going to get mildly racist.)
Resourceful means ‘full of resource’. It comes from the noun resource (no ‘s’). The problem that trips most people up is that ‘resource’ can be two entirely different words but spelled the same way. Many words are like that in the English language. The smart alecks working in schools in nearly all of Asia usually know less than the most of us because their time is typically preoccupied with finding ways to ‘talk down to us’ (to speak condescendingly).
The first kind of ‘resource’
The first kind of ‘resource’ (n) means the internal ability or capability of a person to do things successfully.
In other words, able to deal skilfully and promptly with new situations, difficulties, etc.
In short, a person’s adaptability and ingenuity.
This word is singular only; there is no plural. It is pronounced REE-sawrs with the stress on the first syllable.
(For the shmucks who can’t spell and pronounce at the same time, here is the IPA: /rɪˈsɔrs.)
‘Resourceful’ comes from this first ‘resource’.
The expression ‘natural resource’ is correct because it comes from this first kind of resource. This sentence would be correct:—
The natural resources of our natural resource comes from our manpower, education and earning power.
That sentence totally trips up even native speakers.
(Some digression. No native English speaker understands the IPA. No non-native speaker could pronounce spelled sounds. To educators: why can’t you lot just teach how to pronounce from normal spelling, instead of pissing the time away on getting everyone to learn yet-another alphabet?)
The second kind of ‘resource’
The second kind of ‘resource’ (n) (plural: ‘resources’) is a supply of something, support or aid that can be readily drawn upon when needed.
Has a singular and a plural. Pronounced as rey’SORS with the stress on the second syllable (IPA rɪˈsoʊrs).
This noun is used in the plural 90% of the time by born English speakers, and the plural form is always, always correct.
You might have heard people talk shite like “so-and-so is a resource” (in the meaning of one of several resources) — that would be WRONG.
The right way in good, clean, crisp English is “one of the resources.”
*Sigh* How could it be “a resource” when it already bloody well means a supply?!
But some assholes just aren’t t happy with this. They have to have a word about ‘resources’ (supply) that resembles ‘resourceful’ (as if ‘full of resources’). The correct form is — wait for it — ‘fully stocked‘. (Not ‘well-stocked’ because that means something else.)
Of course, newspapers invented ‘resource-full’ to handle line typesetting problems because ‘full of these/those resources’ might overrun tight column space. But would anyone want to use that stupid newspaperspeak (although I’m 100% okay on seeing it in a newspaper or magazine).
Actually, why would anyone want to say ‘full of resources‘ (with ‘s’) when the proper English phrase is ‘rich in resources‘?
Ain’t full of resources
Dead slow children, dead slow children these academics: learn English, or starve.
It’s amazing that you could still actually hear or read — in this day and age — otherwise educated people use resourceful AS THOUGH it meant full of resources (with ‘s’).
You could always count on the less-resourceful to be easily and deeply impressed with things like IPA, so that just encourages the resourceless to teach this resourceful = full of resources drivel to kids. They couldn’t even pay attention to the absent ‘s’ in ‘full of resource.’
(For the pedantic sods, here is the etymology: 1640-50 from French ressource, from Old French ressourse, derivative of resourdre, to rise up, ultimately from the Latin resurgere meaning to lift. Happy now?)
(You want references now? No. You look it up in a dictionary.)
© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2009. Updated 26 Jan 2013.