Broken English by Trevor Plumbly

Bad language

I notice that newsreaders, once lauded for their command of the English language, are becoming increasingly fond of sloppy Americanisms and tabloid phrasing, to the extent that deee!fence, oh!ffence and other bastardisations are creeping into common usage.

When I question this, I am informed by those anxious to gallop past the more demanding aspects of the English language, that this is the ‘modern way’ and thus, ‘evolving’. It also means, according to those same champions of tortured terminology, that I am something of a dinosaur. I’m not ‘well-schooled’ in the accepted definition of the term because in the 1940s a well-rounded education depended more on financial means than intellectual ability. For the rest of us, the ‘3 Rs’ were deemed sufficient to get us through the educational process and into employment.

As she is spoken

Reading was my main source of learning and entertainment; I came to use language as a much needed form of escapism and effective communication. To some extent I was lucky, growing up in the Home Counties where a flat neutral accent is the norm and close to BBC English without being ‘posh’. English is a weird tongue, embracing a variety of dialects, home grown words and phrases all unique to their origins and perfectly valid, but nevertheless local curiosities, rather than effective speech patterns.

Bad habits

Just as texting erodes written language, so does the overuse of acronyms and abbreviations; are we in such a hurry that we need to behead words to appease gadgetry? It is practically impossible to gain anything much of worth from good oratory and literature without the patience to fully appreciate the structural flow involved. Surely that alone would represent better value instilled in our children than any form of electronic dexterity. Conversational and writing skills are too important to let slide for the sake of convenience. Like the lady said, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’.

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2 Comments on “Broken English by Trevor Plumbly

  1. I’m with you Trevor. I hate the emphasis being in the wrong place in words like “controversy” and “contribute” to name but a few. Also why do spoken sentences have to go up a notch at the end? They didn’t used to (unless you were Australian of course). Well, that’s my moan for today.

    • Hi Marge. Judging by the underwhelming response to this one it looks like we’re on our own! Sad, but speaking personally, I reckon I’m in bloody good company! Luv T.

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