Archive for the 'rants' Category

Another rant

Well yes, all right, I’m a grumpy old fogey who’s behind the times, but I do get cross – and more than cross, sad – at the way our language, the language of Shakespeare and Shelley, is constantly being debased and impoverished.

I mean, have you actually noticed how many people keep saying ‘actually’? Except that they don’t actually say ‘actually’; they say something like ‘atcherly. I heard a girl on the radio the other day, and I’d swear she said it seven times in the course of one sentence. It seems to go along with ‘basically’.

And another thing: remember how we used to laugh at foreigners because they couldn’t pronounce ‘th’? Now, every second youngster pronounces it as either ‘f’ or ‘v’. Least, I fink that’s what they’re saying. Eiver that or somefing very like it.

And don’t even start me on glo’all stops and the disappearing ‘t’….

It’s not that I want folk to talk ‘posh’ ; I just think there’s too much lazy speech around. Knowwo’Imean?

A paradox

It’s an odd thing: the British Council (currently under attack in Russia) gets £189 million from the government for ‘promoting British culture in overseas countries’. At the same time, the Arts Council is proposing to withdraw funding from dozens of theatres up and down the country – notably, in my area, the Bristol Old Vic and the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. Yet surely British theatre is one of the things we are most envied for, and have most cause to be proud of?

Talk about killing, or at least paralysing, the goose that lays the golden eggs. . .

A grumble

I’m in ‘grumpy old man’ mode, and feel like a rant. And the thing I’d like to take issue with is . . . the word ‘issue’. Time was when people would write or speak of ‘subjects’, ‘topics’, ‘matters’, ‘faults’, ‘questions’, ‘problems’, ‘difficulties’ and so on. Now, every bloody thing – whether it’s a software defect or a political crisis – is an ‘issue’. It’s a perfectly good word, of course; but why impoverish the language when there are so many alternatives?

While on language – why can’t people say ‘yes’ any more? Nine times out of ten it’s ‘absolutely!’ – which takes four times as long to say and is quite unnecessary.

Also, why has the verb ‘to say’ fallen into disuse? It’s all “and he goes . . .” or “and I’m like . . .”, neither of which seems to make any sense to me. Not that anyone is going to care what I think – or ‘go’.

A final conundrum. Can anyone tell me why Clark Gable, speaking his last line in “Gone with the Wind” (“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”) stressed the word ‘give’ instead of the ‘damn’?

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