A Word In Your Ear - December 10, 2015

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The other week I shared amusement over English expressions mangled by foreigners. Of course, what really rankles is when we ruin our own language.

We began adopting Americanisms years ago. I annoyed my parents as a boy with ‘be-bop’ talk, such as, “Stay cool, man, and don’t bug me.”

A Lancashire clout round the head ended all that!

Then we imported service expressions such as, “Have a nice day!” They became annoying when trotted out automatically. Similarly, I found polite thanks dying on my lips if met routinely by, “You’re welcome!”

Then there’s the childish response, “I’m good”, when asking if people are well.

My wife hates being called a ‘guy’, which she clearly isn’t.

Then it’s, “How you’re doing there?” – instead of, “Hello sir, what can I get you?”

When you do tell them your needs, everything is, “No problem”. Even when reporting a flooding drain to our emergency line, the young man taking details kept saying, “No problem”, when there obviously was one. At least he didn’t say, “Enjoy!”

Of course, there aren’t any ‘problems’ now, only ‘issues’ – which is a playing down of our troubles I take issue with.

Then we have the inarticulate “I was like -” to express feelings; or a rising tone instead of a question.

With text speak and electronic terminology from California, our proud language is getting more garbled by the day. It’s not snappier, just less precise. Americans lack our vocabulary and rarely use one word if they can use several.

Even on BBC news we hear unnecessary Americanisms such as, “thus far”, or lazy non-verbs with people “protesting” policies or “appealing” decisions.

The other day, a Classic FM commentator even spoke of Beethoven “pranking” one of his contemporaries . . .

I should stay cool, but it bugs me!

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.