Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Simon Cowell and Pot Noodles

Like any apprentice old git, BT regularly sounds off about use and abuse of language. I know language evolves and all that guff but I think, like the pool of human knowledge in a post-apocalyptic society, the vocabulary of individuals may be shrinking.

There are lots of reasons why it might; narrowing educational syllabi, syllabuses or syllabus; fewer people reading; TV; pot noodles; Simon Cowell; text-spell; rap; or the inability to walk through a shopping mall without a mobile in one hand and a bottle of branded water in the other. I wonder if this first generation of bloggers may turn out to be a golden one, blogging Blogging's swan song.

I know few things are more irritating and arrogant than whingeing about people's use of english. Just because I prefer ruh-search to reeee-search, forr'ed to four-head, doesn't mean I'm right (although; There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her four-head. And when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was whore-head).

But I can't help minding. It's my beautiful language too, and they're using it like an ashtray.

Anyway, this piece of BT doggerel is for riders who are not readers. I'm sure they'll thank me for it:

How to Tell a Ménage from a Manège

In the days of the Raj
Gents knew a ménage
Was the way the French spoke
Of a bird and a bloke.

In that fastidious age
They knew a manège
As a general rule
Meant a riding school.

So a 'ménage a trois'
Was three people cuddling
Not three schooling rings
(It's all a bit muddling)

The problem, of course is
We'll be inviting troubles
If we keep schooling horses
On French married couples.


  1. "What, pacifically, were you after?". "A slither of cake".

  2. Great poem. I *heart* the English language too.

  3. I hate "misCHEEVEEous" as well.. Where IS that phantom letter i they keep pronouncing??????

  4. That made me smile.

    Don't get me started on the BBC's use of "an historic". What are we, French?

  5. And then there's the ridiculous number of swearing and text-speak everywhere which is reducing our once-rich language at an ever more well-hard rate.

    Thank you for the most helpful poem - Lynne Truss eat your heart out!

    Rol, even Radio 4 presenters can scarcely even speak anymore

    'Less is Fewer' I say.

    March, anyone?

  6. Only if you promise the banners will be spelt and punctuated correctly...

  7. So good to find I'm not the only one!

    Lucy - Hadn't come across 'slither', so that's another one to worry about. I've heard people put that extra syllable into 'grievous' too.

    G - Thanks. Oh, that heart thing! Couldn't we extend it by using other organs?

    Rol - That one really gets to you! Quite right. Although one of my grandfathers used to say 'hotel' with a silent 'h', as in 'hour' or 'honour'. 'An' sounded okay then.

    Laura - Yes and yes. And yes about Radio 4 presenters too. One of the newsreaders (Carolyn Brown?) keeps pronouncing 'yesterday' as 'yes today'. And why is 'decade' now always 'decayed'? Not to mention 'hurricaine'...

  8. Forrid made me laugh. I'm afraid my dad is on your side on that one, he's got a few others you might recognise;
    Go figure! M

  9. Oh dear; I think he and I speak the same language. Us wesket and britches people are a dying breed. Bet he says wireless, too (I sometimes drop in a reference to the Home Service just to wind people up). Jode-paws, rather than jod-puhs?
    I'm still puzzling about doocut; any clues?

  10. Little white birds live there... I think he's gone too far on this one!

  11. Of course - but I thought only us Scots said that.

  12. Not sure where he picked it up...either way I try to pretend I don't know him if he says it in public...