Off my chest for 2014

It has come to the notice of the Standing Committee on Grumpy Oldmanistry that certain intolerable abuses of the language and culture are becoming widespread. The time has come for action. Here are some examples of things up with which we should no longer put, plus a couple of gratuitous moans:

AITCH (also known as H): It’s aitch, not haitch. For heaven’s sake, stop saying “haitch TML”. It’s a voiceless glottal “fricative”, in case you were wondering and we all know how to use it – even if some people still insist on writing ‘an hotel’, which is so wrong it stays wrong. Why on earth do people persist in saying ‘haitch’? Stop it. Now.

– ING: the G is not exactly silent, but pronouncing (sic) it, either with a G sound or – worse – a K sound is abominable and very annoyink, although I must admit that it has a certain comic effect when people say ‘flinging’, ‘bringing’ and ‘singing’. But that’s no excuse.

OBVIOUSLY – this is rapidly becoming the first or second word that interviewees on the radio/televish use for some reason or another (the other one is ‘So’, which must come from a manual on public speaking and I’m assuming is intended to take the place of the more human Um, Er and Ah). Footballers, in particular, like to use ‘obviously’ in an attempt to make themselves sound sage. Someone should tell them it doesn’t work and obviously, this is me doing so. (Did you see how I did that?)

LOUNGE – these can be found in airports and hotels. They’re for arrivals, departures and having a little dry sherry before dining. What you have in your home is a living room, a sitting room, a drawing room or, at a stretch, a living space. I suppose some people need to call it a lounge in order to have somewhere to put their settee, which they can sit on wearing their lounge pants. But it’s all a bit too Abigail’s Party for me. Snooty, moi?

DAVID BOWIE – will someone please, please put this man out of my misery? He’s a pop star, no more, no less (emphasis on the ‘no more’) and very good at it too, but there’s a limit. To elevate him to the status of a god is going too far. This, from the man’s own website, referring to his recently released, rather dreary album: “The next chapter has surely been written by this most mysterious and important of artists”. If you have to say it about yourself, it’s not true, it’s overweening, self-preening bollocks. Like Paul McCartney, it’s time to retire.

ALAN TURING – following Gordon Brown’s apology in 2009 for the “appalling way he was treated”, he has now been pardoned. What for, exactly? The man was chemically castrated in the 1950s, a shocking punishment the establishment seemed to think appropriate at the time for consenting adults getting up to no good in the privacy of their own bedrooms (or maybe it was in the lounge). His pardon raises two questions: what about all the other people who suffered the same fate, but didn’t happen to be brilliant mathematicians? Shouldn’t they should receive apologies and pardons as well? But actually, we should find a way to beg pardon ourselves for engaging in such brutal practices: add it to the list, along with slavery, burning people at the stake and hunting bushmen in the Cape Province.

1 comment:

dÊ’ezi said...

A friend of mine voices the G in ING. When we talk a lot, I find myself slipping into bad habits! Thanks for the reminder. My brother has a different odd way of voicing the ends of certain words, but I can't think of what it is. I want to say it's also something after the ING. (I try not to speak to him, so it's lost to my poor memory.) What's interesting is that I spent a year in grad school studying to be a speech therapist before the rude awakening that I wasn't good at the therapy part at all. (Great at the studying part.) Thanks to things like crooked teeth, a tethered tongue, too much saliva, or missing teeth, some people aren't ever going to be able to speak super clearly.