02 October 2007

You're toeing yer bag rite oot

That title should probably also have "by the way" at the end of it, but you wouldn't appreciate it.

I don't mean to insult - I know for a fact that the full readership of this mighty tome are of a highly educated sort with bleach blonde hair and are at least 6 feet 2 inches tall. I know this because I know myself rather well.

That said, there is no way, even here with the full potential of the Palace at my fingertips, that I could ever impart over the Web to you, dear reader, how this "by the way" is meant to sound. Meant to sound such that you can precisely appreciate my point and, to get to the point, my fear.

I'm a word guy. I like words. I like learning new words so that I might expand my ability to express myself in new and ever more subtle ways. The subtlety of the spoken word is the thing that has defined our nation over generations, and allowed subsequent generations to keep alive those anecdotes, stories and memories. The English language in particular has a certain high status on Earth not just as the international language of commerce, but also from the air that surrounds those who are naturally educated in British English. That air is the air of sophistication and grace that comes from being the language that conquered and ruled the world for hundreds of years and merely uttering British English invites that response from others who have heard of it, but have never actually sampled its delights.

Imagine then my delight, my sheer joy at hearing a new form of communication. A new language even. Sure it used English words, but not in any fashion I had previously encountered. We have Queen's English and King's English for when she's not in. We have Scots English and Irish English. Over the ponds are American English, Canadian English and Australian English. All different and yet all the same. But this was something else, and an example of which I have provided for you already in the title of this here rant.

For don't be fooled by my gay manner and flippant statements. "You're toeing yer bag rite oot, bai th weye" (I'm trying my best with phonetics here) conveys no meaning. It is not a statement of intent nor of immediate want or concern. It achieves nothing other than allowing me the displeasure of becoming aware of the speaker's existence and their ability to offend mine ear!

Glasgow English is becoming a great irritant to me. As much as it sometimes scares me, I like change - things evolve. But that implies that there is some genetic prerogative for that thing to advance in some way: to take what it has learned and apply that knowledge in new and interesting and, goddamnit, useful ways.

The English I know and love is one which long ago broke free from its embryonic torpor and produced what amounts to the lexicographical equivalent of stereo vision, opposable thumbs and a sense of decency.

This English is something that has regrown its erstwhile vestigial tail, covets its appendix as a new and wonderous organ and digs ants out of the sand with twigs.

All of my keenly honed sense of snobbery aside, ultimately I'm afraid.

I fear for my next generation, my progency. I fear this is an English that, if I have them, my kids will one day speak.


1 comment:

  1. RocketBootKidKid, as a resident of one of the adjuncts to MonkeyWorld, is affecting a delightful regional intonation. In addition, his flagrant disregard for the correct occassions in which to use "they" and "those" is a particular joy. The beatings will continue until grammar improves.

    Whether one views this 'degradation' of language as a bad thing depends on what one believes the purpose of language to be. If you habitually converse with other inhabitants of a region that share a patois, then there isn't really a downside.

    Only when one is forced outside your 'hood into the real world where the specifics of the local parlance are not understood are the flaws uncovered.

    Personally, I perceive, perhaps irrationally and most probably incorrectly, that anyone with a strong regional accent is of lesser intellect than someone who can converse using only those words found in the dictionary in a manner that someone from outwith that region can understand.

    This perception bares no relation to reality; perception is bad in that regard. I guess it's because, coming from a small country with a number of strong, and often impenetrable, accents, I equate strong accents with small, localised, "non-worldly" people with whom I am less likely to have anything in common.

    Non-standard pronunciations have their place, but not as the default broadcast mechanism.

    >Message ends--