Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mind Your Language

The other night I received a message which broke all known grammatical rules and reminded me of Henry Higgins' distaste for a Cockney accent in the 1964 seminal musical 'My Fair Lady.' Remember the line? 'Oh why can't the English teach their children how to speak!' We have been thrust into a global society and it's nearly impossible to find a homogeneous community (even on Facebook) that speaks only one language. English is no longer owned by the English - we all need one international language to survive in the bold new world. Unlike Eliza Doolittle, English is not our mother tongue and we do not have any obligation to meet Henry Higgin's exacting standards. We let the language evolve to capture our own cultures and idiosyncrasies; and in the process we slaughter the language and let it bleed to death on Facebook. Still I was outraged by the message which read:
'Its beyond ma human imagination to prove how u r doing. Well, i got to extend my sincere regards as far as your evening is concerned. have it nicely please.'
Normally I would have deleted the message but it was a gem in vulgarity. So instead I posted it on Facebook and let it bleed while we went down memory lane remembering past murders of the English language. During my youth the language suffered most when young men scribbled pick-up lines in the snail mail letters which we eagerly anticipated. The grammar was not always wrong but the metaphors were killers: 'As I saw your body gliding across the waters of the pool, my heart was arrested,' wrote one love sick pup. My personal favorite was: 'This morning I looked in the mirror and I saw you!' I sometimes wonder if the people who wrote those pitiable lines ever scored girlfriends. How I wish I had kept them for my daughters so we could compare notes.

At 50 I know that there are many lonely guys out there who have not realized that it's not their aftershave that's keeping them single - it's their poor use of language!

— feeling entertained.

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