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Recently I saw a clip advertising a Canadian library by all sorts of fun actions they do instead of offering people books to read: from shoelace-tying workshops to seminars where people are taught "how to public speak". And in another context (a few years ago), I heard a native speaker (from California) saying something about someone starting to "problem solve" (not my mistake -- she said it several times and used it as a verb). Is this correct? Or is it bad English? Or an emerging trend? Or both? Not like Yoda speak sound it does? Hmmm ...?

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  • Please note: to solve problems and to speak publicly are the two phrases on which these usages are built. problem solve doesn't bother me as much as public speaking. That's because the usual term is: public speaking. I see nothing wrong with "How to be a public speaker" and don't see why that's not good enough for 'em. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 17:33

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Google Books Ngram Viewer does not recognise to public speak, a phrase that is new to me as well. From the image above it would appear to be an attempt to turn How to speak publicly, into a catchy title for the exercise.

On the other hand, to problem solve has taken off steadily since the 1960s and is now in regular use, as numerous sources attest.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/problem-solve

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=to+problem+solve&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cto%20problem%20solve%3B%2Cc0

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  • Yes, and the title should read: How to be or become a public speaker
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 17:44

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