Saturday, 20 October 2012

"Why can't the English?"




"Why can't the English teach their children how to speak" I can hear Rex Harrison crooning in my head as I start this post today and oh how I agree with the sentiments of that song!







Listening to a pair of teenagers in the library this morning was the final straw!  Their conversation went something like this -

"So well like I saw him 'an I just foght he was kinda like cute and I like I said to him like why dont we go aat like together like" the first girl says

"Oh f***** hell like that is so sick like" the second girl replies

Then to my surprise the first girl then replies "Yeah I well pleased like"  I totally misunderstood the conversation!!

I had to walk to away it actually hurt my ears to listen to them!  It did start the inevitable argument in my head of what's happened to the English language 'like'.  With Shakespeare, Wilde, Austen and  such masters of the English language to be so proud of how did we get to the point where conversation became so shortened and ugly, how did we fall so low?

I suppose some of it is my age and the young people of today would accuse me of not 'getting with it' or to write the way they do is 'sick man' but I don't care I don't want to shorten every word in the English language to suit this new ridiculous fashion.  It took me near on half an hour the other week to work out a text message a dear friend in the UK, (granted she is a few years younger than me), it went like this -

"Hi K8T twas so gtsu we musm lik hope lyf n NZ S goin wel n its nce 2B hom d gals r luvly n twas realy nce 2 mEt em we'll cum n SYS we hope B4n" 

I am sorry to "dis" this way of talking but come on people!!!  I get it that young people would look at this and just know what it says but I just think it's a crying shame that this is what our beautiful language has become, through sheer laziness and need for instant gratification.  I thought it was just here in New Zealand but sadly upon research it's seem to be a worldwide phenomenon in English speaking countries. 

It's not just the way we speak either even the words being added to the Collins dictionary of late are telling of the way our culture and language is changing.

For your amusement :-

Bridezilla - a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as intolerable

Blootered - intoxicated; drunk

Bashtag - a hashtag that is used for critical and abusive comments 

Cyberbully - someone who uses electronic communication to hurt, persecute or intimidate people

Facebook - a popular social networking website
 
FaceTime - an application for a mobile communications device that enables people to speak to each other while simultaneously observing each other on a video display
 
Faff - to dither or fuss

Amazeballs - an expression of enthusiastic approval  (new one on me, might have to use this one!!)

Floordrobe - a pile of clothes left on the floor of a room (my daughter's have one of those!)

Frenemy - a supposed friend who behaves in a treacherous manner

Lollage - the practice of using the text messaging abbreviation LOL (do we need a word for this?)

Mummy porn - a genre of erotic fiction designed to appeal to women

Sick - good; excellent 

Thanx - thank you (this one really grates on me!)

Bang tidy - of exceptionally good quality

Tiger mother - a very strict mother who demands that her children reach a high level of achievement


Believe me this is just a selection of the ridiculous words that have found their way into the dictionary of late.   I wonder whether we will now start dropping the letter 'u' out of half our words too like so many other countries around the world.  It drives me mad when the spell check wants me to change colour to color, it's just sheer laziness!

In all seriousness though it is sad, in an age when technology is taking over and believe me I am not averse to technology, I blog, I twitter and I facebook (look at all those new words I am using!) but what I suppose that concerns me is that we are losing something truly beautiful and replacing it with something so very ugly.  It would be so much better if we first taught our children the beauty of the English language and then 'like' let them ruin it 'like'.  At least then they might first appreciate it's poetry and beauty and the great writers of the centuries would not be lost to gather dust on library bookshelves.

I know that fairly recently Emma Thompson (Emma Thompson's Rant) went on a rampage in the UK totally 'dissing' the use of 'like' and 'innit' and frankly Ms Thompson I agree!  It's time to fight for our beautiful language and teach our children to appreciate and use it properly, otherwise we stand to lose it forever and with it the great writers of hundreds of years as they become lost to a language that people will no longer be able to decipher.

I am going to stop ranting now (I could go on and you know it!) and leave you with two beautiful examples of why we simply have to stop with the 'like' 'innit' 'bro' 'sick' and 'dissing'.

Sonnet XVIII by William Shakespeare 

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

I won't tell you how many words the so called spell checker underlined in that piece!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

"If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny.  But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you".

Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word.  After a short pause, her companion added, "you are too generous to trifle with me.  If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once.  My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever"

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances.  The happiness which this reply produced was such as he had probably never felt before, and he expressed himself on the occasion sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.  had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eyes, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight diffused over his face became him; though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable. 

They walked on, without knowing in what direction.  There was too much to be though, and felt, and said, for attention to any other subjects....


Now THAT's 'Mummy Porn'

Have a great day folks!

Kate x

P.s On an unrelated note and in regards to an earlier post 'Single Mum and the Dating Game' my first date with the man who only has one very nice head was totally wonderful 'like' and I am now nervously excited waiting on the second date 'like'!










6 comments:

  1. Great article Kate. Glad the dating scene is looking up!

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    1. Thanks Anonymous!!!! Yes it is rather :-)

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  2. Did you have a second date, do tell!!

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    1. Second and a Third on Thursday....all very exciting :-))))))))))))) I am more than a little happy at the moment!!

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    2. Restores my faith! Enjoy!

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    3. Yes it's doing a good job of restoring mine too! Haven't smiled this much in years :-)

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