Archive for August, 2019

August 16, 2019

#153) How not to complain #10/Mid-Year Language Court 2019

I am an unapologetic language douche. I love being vindicated when I learn that other people feel the same way and that I’m not the only curmudgeon when it comes to “circle back”, “gentle reminder”, “adulting” and “Sunday Funday.” As the seven long-term followers of this blog know, I live for the release of Lake Superior State University’s annual Banished Words List like Jeffrey Epstein used to live for the three o’clock bell at St. Mary’s Junior High. When I saw that Britain’s Gyles Brandreth had compiled 38 Americanisms that the British bloody hate, I knew the right thing to do was to make my wife watch my father, who requires round-the-clock care due to advanced health problems, so I could peruse the list.

I probably should have stuck with Dad.

It’s no secret that Americans are idiots. The country that gave us Bhad Babie, Teen Mom and the Cheetoh is a broad target. The problem with Brandreth’s list is that – a few legitimate items notwithstanding – it makes you wonder why he is more concerned about Americans saying “a half hour” instead of “half an hour” than he is about Boris Johnson.

By the most stringent standards I’ve ever applied to my Language Court verdicts, of Brandreth’s 38 accused, there are only 9 guilty parties none of which are felonies (although 24/7 is dangerously close). Misdemeanor convictions include “Eaterie”, “Reach out to” and “Going forward.” These are far outnumbered by terms that I only hear at the Olympics (“medal” as a verb), phrases that I’ve never heard at all, Olympics or otherwise (“least worst option”) and items that make me wonder if Brandreth is simply trying to cultivate a reputation as a quirky Brit (advocating the use of “fortnight” instead of “bi-weekly.”)

Even if I were as annoyed as Brandreth at the use of “alternate” instead of “alternative”, “I got it for free” instead of “I got it free” and “regular” instead of “medium-sized” for coffee, I would find his explanations lacking. As someone who has never been particularly upset at the use of “transportation” instead of “transport”, I’d be curious to know why it irks him. It might at least make me better empathize with him – no, I don’t bristle at the use of “a million and a half” instead of “one and a half million” but if I knew why Brandreth did, it might make me feel like I haven’t become “Get Off My Lawn” guy because I think I should have the right to legally kill anyone who refers to their family as “fam bam.” Brandreth might have been better served to focus on quality (so to speak) than quantity of his complaints; the LSSU lists typically have no more than 20 items and while I don’t always agree with what goes on and stays off them, I am usually satisfied and entertained by the explanations.

Last, I have to ask if Brandreth really believes that he speaks for all Brits. To be sure, Americans have been causing British face-palms since 1776, but somehow I don’t think their biggest problem with us is usage of “expiration” instead of “expiration date.” Dare I say, I’d imagine that most of them (see item #37) could care less.