Monday morning is always Monday morning. To complete the scenario there has to be a ‘sign’ to confirm this. To fulfil this role, my Perfect Pencil – a modestly titled writing product from Faber Castell – leaped unaided from the bookcase performing a perfect dive into mug of, now cold, coffee which my considerate wife had brought me an hour earlier. Hmm.
OK- so to christen the new site, here’s a number of gripes I have with the misuse of language. If anybody dares say ‘yes but language is a living, breathing and evolving structure’ I fully accept and understand this much quoted phrase, however evolving is by definition a smooth and relatively slow process, whereas many ‘changes’ in usage come about through sheer ignorance of correct usage – personally I’d rather not have errors ensconced as a sign of verbal progress. The high horse having being well and truly exercised, here are a few examples
1 Using ‘should of been’ when it should have been ‘should have been’
2 Using ‘bartering’ when they mean ‘bargaining’ or ‘haggling’ : ‘bargaining’ is a process of reaching a price (or out come) which suits both parties. ‘Bartering’ which many people say they are good at, would mean convincing a sofa salesman that they should accept in exchange for the latest lounging luxury your old sofa, which only has a few springs showing, and lacks only one of the cushions, plus some random objects which you found in your attic. Obviously, this is entire hypothetical as sofas seem to always be at “Outrageously Good Sale Prices!”
3 Using the word ‘riffing’ in any context! The word refers to a series of notes; a musical phrase originally and usually applied to guitarists. I have NEVER heard a musician say ‘riffing’ – a riff is a thing. Somebody – and I am tempted to blame Will Self for this – has purloined the word and transmogrified it into a conjugatable verb to be used outside of a musical context
I riff, you rifff, he riffs . . . . No, I don’t, you don’t and he bloody doesn’t!
As an aside, I cannot resist blaming Self for many things (this is clearly not severe self-deprecation) and I did delight in his error of using the phrase – ‘having cardinal knowledge’ – unless he knows more than we do about the habits of the Catholic church.
Here endeth the first of many. . .
Now I KNOW that language is a living and breathing thing which changes with time and cultural variations….. BUT I do have a little objection to the influx of Americanisms, such ‘And I was, like, . . . ‘ Yes – every time I hear ‘I’m good!’ in response to the phatic greeting; ‘how are you ?’ a small part of my pedantic soul dies. Now I also know that in many ways American English is MORE traditional than ours- their use of the Chaucerian ‘z’ rather than an ‘s’ and their staunch adherence to ‘or’ rather than our bizarrely willing adoption of the French ‘ou’. My objection to Americanisms is that words and phrases are a reflection of societal mores, and theirs are different to ours. For example, the quaint expression ‘Knit and Natter’ conjuring up the image of a room full of Miss Marple lookalikes sharing tea, gossip and twinset patterns, is transmogrified in the US to ‘Stitch and Bitch’ which seems closer to the Witches of Eastwick than the Vicar of Dibley, where a pack of glamourous Cher clones, will be planning their moves with cold precision, (presumably whilst creating crocheted bondage gear.)
On this basis, I would like to propose a UK based alternative to the the word ‘cougar’ – meaning an older woman preying on younger men. Based on the image of ladies of a certain age wearing seductive underwear, I would suggest the title ‘basque terrorists’ which I feel creates a slightly less-threatening, and somewhat picaresque, image.