Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Smiths is Dead


Whatever could be wrong with an accent that
makes 'hello' intowhat sounds like:

that's the Ü sound
She is of German stock, you know?
there's also

FLAT A becoming an 'e'
Where else could 'HAT' & 'HEAD' rhyme?
[hang the bankers blog]

Seriously though, with all the changes in the language , with 
SMS and e-mail and emoticons this is a greatly creative period
for English and other languages.
So , the Rule-book Thumpers have gone away.
The Queen's English Society is no-more,
or is that 'no more'?
anyway, she dead!
IshitUnot: 2 texts
The Queen is Dead
Just as the British monarchy celebrates another milestone, with Her Maj reaching 60 years not out, the society that claims to defend her English - the Queen's English Society - pops its clogs. And of course, being her subjects, it's our language too. A bit like Buckingham Palace...which we're not allowed into and all those Crown Estates...hmm.... The professional contrarians over at Spiked Online, led by Brendan O'Neill argue that standards are good, because they allow you to communicate with more people in order to overturn the system: "There is revolutionary potential in having everyone adhere to the same linguistic rules; there is only the dead end of division and parish-pump platitudes in the promotion of a linguistic free-for-all in which eevn spleling doens’t matetr". [IT’S WORKING SO FAR. HOW’S YOUR BANK?]

English ain't what it was, but we should celebrate its cultural diversity
The demise of the Queen's English Society signals the end of a nostalgic fantasy
Margaret Reynolds, Tuesday 5 June 2012 19.00 BST Comments (229) 
‘I do like your shallots!' Linguistic mistakes, and variety in speech and dialect, are among life's great pleasures. Photograph: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Who speaks the Queen's English? Certainly not the Queen. She has used many different kinds of English over the years and her way of speaking is now pretty much unique, the crossbred product of an old-fashioned upbringing and modern adaptation.
And what is the Queen's English anyway? Does it lie in pronunciation, in grammar, in correct use of terms, or in punctuation? Is it the same as Oxford English? Or received pronunciation, or BBC English? And who will help us to tell the difference?
Until this week, the Queen's English Society ("Good English Matters") did that job. But when only 22 members pitched up for a meeting, the chairman, Rhea Williams, declared the society closed. Finished, kaput, an ex-society. "People today", she said, "just don't care". Starbucks won't call her back when she tries to point out their incorrect use of less and fewer. Advertisers shrug their shoulders over misplaced apostrophes. So, felt pen in hand, she carries on her lonely crusade, adjusting notices all over the land.
Standards in English have always been going to the dogs. Once, it was too many American expressions ("I'm taking the elevator to put out the trash, dude"). Then, it was the mimicking of the Australian style of lifting the voice at the end of a sentence? As if a statement were a question? Now, it's text abbreviations, street slang, glottal stops and "it's gonna rain tomorrow" that are the problems.
Like many teachers, I sigh over essays that don't distinguish between effect and affect. I shout at the radio over improper use of "the public interest". Along with the Radio 4 announcer Harriet Cass, I don't really feel that it is polite to say toilet in a public broadcast.
But variety in speech and dialect is one of the delights of English. For more than a century now, we have been able to hear the voices of the dead, and they speak a language already strange. So Robert Browning (recorded in 1888) says, "'Pon my word, I've forgotten me own verses". And the Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, in a broadcast from the 1950s, recommends the need for "plorrt and kerekter".
Where I live in Gloucestershire the pronoun "it" is often replaced with "he" – "I'm offended with him", says my neighbour when his lettuce bolts. In Lancashire, people speak with a portentous emphasis – "You're a fool to yourself, Connie". In Bristol, classical music fans love the operal.
The linguistic mistakes immortalised by Shakespeare's Dogberry and Sheridan's Mrs Malaprop are among life's happy pleasures. There was the essay on Dracula in which he ends "with a steak through his heart". Or the acquaintance who commented on my divided skirt – "I do like your shallots". I didn't say anything. I expect Rhea Williams is rather more brave. Or should that be braver?
Yes, words are important, and correct usage does make for better understanding. Along with all English teachers, I correct trivial errors and general carelessness. But I care more that my students think for themselves, that they develop a critical understanding, so they can set up their own argument.
The other thing that I value is a respect for the interests and feelings of others. Mispronounced or miss-spelt words worry me a bit. But stumbling over names, or failing to remember them, bothers me more. Equally, I don't mind American phrases – provided we know that that is what they are. And let's add in words from other cultures too – key European monetary terms might be useful at the moment, along with the proper names for different dress codes and social expectations.
But cultural policing (even of this kind) is always dangerous, because it says that I am right and you are wrong. The magazine published by the Queen's English Society is called Quest. And that's about right. It strives to recover a nostalgic fantasy world that never did exist and never can.
Spiked online
Brendan O’Neill  
The revolutionary potential of the Queen’s English
It isn’t only old farts who should stand up for standard English. So should those of us who want to understand the world, and change it.
... Reynolds’ outlook echoes the arguments put forward by an academic in the Times Higher Education Supplement in 2008, where it was argued that university teachers should stop losing sleep over students’ misspelling of words and instead embrace their ‘variant spellings’. So ‘truely’ wouldn’t be wrong, just a variant of ‘truly’.  FIND
As a young person might say (probably with the blessing of his university lecturer): OMFG. That even higher-education practitioners no longer feel comfortable correcting bad spelling and spasticated grammar speaks volumes about today’s cult of relativism. Apparently there is no proper way to write or spell, just endless variations of word-use that are all equally valid. Or perhaps vapid (that’s my variant spelling of valid, so don’t judge). Today’s discomfort with standard language is summed up in the slurs that have been invented to attack those who defend it: they are always ‘spelling fascists’ or ‘grammar police’ who, in the words of The Times (!), are leading a ‘pedants’ revolt’ against txtspeak.
Of course, defending standard English doesn’t mean defending a narrowly prescriptive idea of how one should sound or demanding that everyone be linguistically formal at all times, even when gassing with a mate on the blower (see what I did there?). No one is saying you must pronounce off as orf (piss orf!) or never again say the phrase ‘me bollox’. But in order to engage with society, with its public life and politics, you need to fully understand its language[AND ITS VARIETY AND DIALECTS]. You need to know that the sentence you just read contained a split infinitive, and that some people frown upon those while others think they are okay. You need to know how words are spelt and how they should be arranged in order to achieve both clarity and clout; you need to know what punctuation is for; you need to know what is the best way to write things down in order for them to be understood by the maximum number (not amount) of people. When it comes to language, the rule is that the more you know the rules, the more you can play around with them and twist them for effect, if you like. But you need to know the rules. And it is this knowing of the rules that is called into question these days, by people who think we should stop telling 19-year-old muppets at university that they have spelt things wrong and who even think it’s problematic to say: ‘I am right and you are wrong.’
... The refusal to uphold a standard language is really a refusal to be universal. It is the promotion of parochialism at the expense of public engagement, and introversion over expanding one’s horizons. I want to speak the Queen’s English not because I want to be like the Queen, but because I want to get rid of her, and to make numerous other changes to the society we live in,