Thursday, 27 September 2012

Random wordings

I read this fascinating article this morning on the use of British English in America. Apparently it isn't going down well in some areas. Funnily enough the same thing erupted here a few years ago with the large amount of American sitcoms on British TV being blamed for the change in British English. I'm not entirely sure what all the fuss is about to be honest. Language is language. It evolves and changes with the times. If it doesn't, it turns into the dreaded Latin lessons at school - a language you are taught but will never speak. What is the point of that?

So instead of complaining bitterly about the change in our use of language (whichever part of the world you are in - after all Ching-lish is supposedly spoken by more people now than English, or at least according to QI, the source of all knowledge!), I thought I'd share with you some of the words that I love and hate.

Words I love

  • Train station - an American term, that is oh so much shorter and sweetie than railway station.
  • Ginger - to indicate someone who has red hair. Often used in a derogatory sense, but often not. I just love it. I love gingers too (living in Scotland and having a family half-full of red heads might have something to do with that). I think I have ginger envy.
  • Bi-weekly - ok so not right up there on my 'love-list' but what is so wrong with this? Much more descriptive than fortnightly. I'm not saying fortnightly should be abandoned, but what is wrong with a new and highly descriptive phrase?
  • Closet - I've been using this a lot recently to describe any cupboard/wardrobe or such in our house which needs decluttering or some sort of attention. Mr PTC hates it! I love it because it is all-encompassing (hmmm maybe I should embrace more words that I don't like because they are all-encompassing too).
... and the words I loathe
  • Pleb - seriously? this is just derogatory and unnecessary. Especially when used by politicians to refer to anybody they believe isn't on the same payscale as them.
  • Ned - used in Scotland to refer to people who are from Glasgow and just a bit, erm, uneducated. Pleeeeeeaaaaassssssseeeeee. Just because you have a Glaswegian accent doesn't make you uneducated.
  • Brummie - used in the posh parts of middle England to refer to anyone with a Birmingham accent, in a not very nice way. This was one of the things I really hated about where I grew up - everyone was so stuck up about not being from Birmingham. I mean does where you grow up really make you a better human being? I think not!
  • Eaterie - now come on. What is wrong with restaurant, takeaway or pub? 
  • Math. I'm sorry, but as a Mathematical Physicist I cannot understand the word math. It is MATHS plain and simple. Maybe this makes me grumpy; I don't know why but it really sets my teeth on edge.
OK, and one more thing, that while not really getting upset about I just don't understand. Why do American's refer to themselves as American-English, or American-Swedish or whatever? I mean I'm Scottish or British no Scottish-Irish-Welsh-English-Norwegian-Danish which is probably more accurate if you take into account the previous 10 generations which is what I believe American's do. I really don't understand! I'd love to be enlightened.

Phrases and words that are British and American, but all just quite fascinating.
Feel free to disagree or (strangely) agree with me. I think one of the most wonderful things about language is its ability to change, evolve and grow. The fact we can be so diverse in our choice of how we explain something is wonderful. So maybe I sound grumpy by having things that I don't like, but this just makes life more exciting surely?

Thanks for stopping by,
Let me know what you think... leave a comment or send an email to passthecaffeine {at} gmail {dot} com

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