Sunday, August 21, 2005


“It’s your language. You speak it, read it, write it and hear it. You should strive to master it.” My mother, who was a graduate-level English professor, told me that once upon a time. Even in my most delinquent, rebellious state, it made perfect sense to me. I owe everything that bugs me about the misuse of the English language (by native speakers) to her; and I mean that in a nice way.

I’m not a master of the English language by any means, but I do fancy myself fairly proficient with it.

This Blog will focus on how native speakers’ use of their primary language bothers me.

If I post something that is inaccurate or incorrect, feel free to step in and correct me.



R. said...

I occasionally slaughter the English language, sometimes intentionally and other times just cause I'm a hick. But it can be a peeve when you see people in the media slaughtering our language. I call you an English snob!!! Me, I am AMERICAN!!!!

Love to you!!!


Karlos said...

Does your referral to me as an "English Snob" mean I'm a snob from England or a snob about other people’s use of the English language? :-)

See what you've done?! I just can't help myself!

I'm so misunderstood. It's the brainwashing I tell ya'. Maybe I'll seek counseling. Then again, maybe I'll just go get a bottle of bourbon and pop a leftover Ativan. Maybe that'll "release the demons."

Dig your weekend Miss American :-)



Bunny ~N~ Early said...

Question for Mom C regarding English.
The other night I sit down and Matt is watching some documentary about life in the hood. I think it was filmed in Atlanta. I shit you not, I could not understand a damn thing those people were saying, not a word. Apparently this documentary was not made for the average English speaking American to understand, it was subtitled. I am so confused, is there a name for this language? These people were born in the USA. They went to public schools. How did the school district advertise for teachers who spoke this particular language to communicate with the children? Do these people know English and just refuse to speak it? Is it made up like pig Latin or does it have roots like Spanish? Help me out here.

Karlos said...

I’ve had the same experience. It’s not a language though; it’s a dialect of the English language. I think it’s more of a social dialect than a regional dialect. No, it doesn’t have Spanish roots, and yes, I think those people that “speak’ it are perfectly capable of speaking/understanding real English.

As for teachers, wasn’t there a movement in Oakland to recognize “Ebonics” as a language, and to teach it to teachers? I don’t recall the specifics, but that rings a bell because I thought it was a pretty silly idea. Every time the topic came up I thought of the little old lady in that movie “Airplane” who got up and offered to translate for someone I can’t remember: “Excuse me, but I speak a little jive.”

I had a roommate once upon a time who was from Concord, Massachusetts. Subtitles would’ve been very handy in communicating with him. Great guy, but hard as hell to understand in the beginning. I remember telling him on a few occasions, “Jim, you need to look at me when you’re talking so I can read your lips because I can’t understand a fuckin’ word you’re saying.” Eventually I got it figured out.


Bunny ~N~ Early said...

Thanks C
If it isn't a "language," then it is like Pig Latin and I believe I stopped speaking that at 12.
If they can speak English why should we pay teachers to learn that crap? I guess you do learn something new everyday, even if you have to read it in subtitles.

Ivy the Goober said...

I am loving these posts! I have laughed at them all. Even though I am not perfect in speech, grammar, spelling... I do something very similar to what you've been describing. I notice errors in print. Sometimes I get so mad about them and want to circle them in red and send them back to the newspaper editor. Once I got a letter from the school principal saying I owed money for a book my daughter had lost. I gave it back to my daughter and said, "Tell her I'll pay her when she changes 'in lew of' to 'in lieu of' in her letter."

Karlos said...

In "lew" of. That's priceless! Right up there with my 5th grade teacher, who pronounced Mardi Gras as Mardi (i as in eye) Grass!