Speak English!

By Ian Hickling
Posted 24 January 2015, 6.23am est

Am I the only person here who gets irate by and wants do do something positive about the bastardisation of our lovely language by journalists and broadcasters - particularly those employed by the BBC which we all fund as taxpayers?
More often than not it's by the adoption of usage gleaned from across the Atlantic.
This morning on R4 I heard an ebullient presenter ask his panel to "...chew on a Cadbury's Creme Egg...."
For a start - the verb "to chew" in this context is transitive - it takes an object.
You chew something - you don't chew on it.
And even with the controversial new recipe Creme Egg, the process is hardly chewing.
Get your English right!
Weren't you listening at school?
Believe it or not - that's what we're paying you for.


5 years, 4 months ago

Yes, you are the only person who gets irate about it.

5 years, 4 months ago

How do you eat a Creme Egg without chewing it and during which lesson at school did you learn this strange behaviour, Ian?

5 years, 4 months ago

Well, first of all English is a descriptive not prescriptive language - in the terms of linguistic dichotomy. Thus, if the word/phrase has been used before, it does already exist in the language.
In this way, British English is being influenced by other Englishes and their speech practices: mostly by American English - as Americans are hugely present in all media imaginable, also by other Englishes as well - like English spoken in Northern Ireland, Scottish English, various Asian Englishes fusing into the British one with tourists and immigrants.
So, on what stage did you mean to preserve [British] English, Ian?
Before 1066, Britain had quite a differing language, with bloody Dannes and Romans having already contributed; then came Wilhelm, brough those bloody Frenches - so what?
The language - any language - evolves constantly. Another thing is to know certain limits - tell between such an evolution and illiteracy.

5 years, 4 months ago

I've asked The Guardian for you, in an effort to stop myself from self-harm.

5 years, 4 months ago

I'm afraid that won't work, James. I believe Ian has established on here over many years that modern broadsheet newspapers, the BBC, linguists, dictionary compilers and the education system are all part of the problem, not the solution.

Luckily, there was one place and time where Correct English was codified. The true and trustworthy guides to the English language are Ian's school teachers from sixty years ago. They had access to the Ongoing Wisdom that holds good over all time. Unfortunately, there is no Sacred Text that compiles these Unshakeable Rules so we must be thankful that Ian has taken it upon himself to be the Infallible Guardian of what is Right and what is Wrong.

In case you haven't been making a list, here are some of the key Facts I have gleaned from Ian:
Great Britain is not geographically a part of Europe.
Commas, not decimal points, must be used to denote decimal fractions.
Anglicisation of foreign words is verboten.
Yet foreign speakers of their own languages may not be trusted to pronounce their own words or names correctly.

And the latest:
Creme Eggs cannot be chewed.

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