Wednesday, 14 December 2011
According to a report in The Grauniad, the Department for Transport has issued a five page document offering grammatical advice for civil servants and MPs. Given that many of them are barely literate, this is long overdue. However, the quality of the advice proffered is open to question. For example, the guide states that the word ‘firstly’ should not appear anywhere other than the start of a sentence. The word ‘firstly’ should not appear at all! Rather, the word ‘first’ should be used.
The newspaper article claims that Canny Linguist's MP, Theresa Villiers, the Minister for Transport, has forbidden the use of the words ‘whilst’ and ‘with regards to’ within her department. CL has written to Ms Villiers seeking confirmation of the report.
Whilst MPs are, of course, entitled to their views on language usage, CL was not aware that Orwell's prophecy with regards to ‘newspeak’ formed part of the Coalition agreement. This situation is reminiscent of the attempt by former Prime Minister, Tony B Liar, to have Latin words such as ‘writ’ and ‘habeas corpus’ removed from our vocabulary.
English is a rich and diverse language, constantly changing, with some words falling out of favour through natural evolution. However, when politicians start dictating which words can and cannot be used, it is a clear sign that democratic civilisation has formally ended.
Monday, 12 December 2011
Hot on the heels of Cock Soup, now comes a range of products made with…er Aborigines. Unless the manufacturer has developed a food range suitable for cannibals, perhaps they should fire their advertising proof reader? Once again, a salutary reminder for writers not to rely on spill chuckers.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Saturday, 3 December 2011
Canny Linguist has just taken delivery of the complete 8 film DVD box set chronicling the adventures of Mr Harold Potter and his chums. A £20 bargain from Amazon (less 5% student discount). The Met Office has predicted a mild winter which means, of course, that we need to batten down the hatches and stock up on movies to while away those winter evenings.
Due to the preponderance of the incidental music, and the tendency of modern film stars to mumble their lines, CL often watches DVDs with the subtitles turned on. He was interested, therefore, to note the language choices available to him:
English, Arabic, Greek, Icelandic, German, Hebrew, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian.
Most of the DVDs are also dubbed into other languages which means you can, for example, watch the film in Russian and follow with English subtitles. What a brilliant way to learn a new language!
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Warning: this blogpost contains very strong language which some readers may find offensive.
The English Language is rich and colourful, especially in the choice of words we use to insult each other with.
Citizen Barnet, a left wing blogger, recently posted an article entitled: Support the pensions strikes! Don't scab!
According to the Cambridge University on-line dictionary, a scab is defined as: "an insulting word for a person who continues working while other people in the organization are on strike."
Citizen Barnet, aka VickiM57, admitted that she doesn’t actually like the word but used it anyway because “that’s the word people use.” As Catherine Tate’s Gran would say, what a load of old shit! There are countless alternative and polite ways of describing people who choose not to go on strike. The word ‘scab’ is clearly designed to be offensive in order to intimidate those not willing to be pushed around by left wing militant thugs. VickiM57 used the word ‘scab’ deliberately and without remorse.
It is somewhat ironic that a few days earlier, the loony left in Barnet were complaining about offensive remarks made by Conservative Councillor John Hart at a public meeting. Cllr Hart was undoubtedly wrong to mimic and mock a member of the public, but that didn’t stop the hypocrites of the left in using offensive language themselves when it came to criticising their opponents.
Which brings us on to the Jeremy Clarkson incident. Clarkson suggested that public sector strikers should be “taken out and executed”. This was self evidently intended as a joke, but the excerpt repeated by some sections of the media was taken out of context because it did not include his comment leading up to the now infamous remark in which he had given his support to the strikers.
There cannot be anyone on the planet who does not realise that Clarkson frequently makes similarly provocative comments simply to create a reaction. If you don’t like what he has to say, or the way that he says it, you don’t have to listen to him. But the swivel eyed Trots simply cannot bear the thought of anyone expressing an opinion that is contrary to their deluded and misguided belief system.
Former Daily Mirror Editor, Piers Moron, posted a Tweet calling Clarkson a “nasty little twerp”.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Moron is an odious turd and quite possibly the only human being on the planet who proves that even controversial councillor Brian Coleman has some redeeming features.
Canny Linguist tweeted about the hypocrisy of those who attacked Clarkson’s choice of words but were happy to use offensive language themselves. Citizen Barnet took umbrage at this, complaining that she had not hitherto given her views about “that cunt Clarkson”.
She subsequently Tweeted that the ‘cunt’ comment was only a joke.
Fair enough, but it does rather prove CL’s point. People with right wing views are not allowed to make jokes. That’s the preserve of the loony left who conveniently forget that freedom of speech includes the right to be provocative.
These militants simply cannot bear the fact that the majority of people in this country do not share their deluded views, and they will use whatever language they can to try and denigrate, belittle or humiliate their opponents. They care not that we have been driven to the verge of bankruptcy by Gordon Brown and his rabid economic policies. They think that money grows on the tree at the bottom of the garden. They refuse to accept that we cannot have what we cannot afford. They are quite happy to force our children and grandchildren into a life of penury, simply so that they can continue to receive unaffordable and unfunded pensions which are not available to the majority of workers in the private sector.
For ten years and more we borrowed money to gorge ourselves on cheap goods from China. Is it any wonder that we are now broke and have no manufacturing base to speak of? Our ancestors knew that you had to earn money before you could spend it. We must now reap what we have sewn. The austerity measures will be painful, of that there is no doubt, but we have had the good times and now they must be paid for.
The pensions crisis has been looming for generations as life expectancy continues to increase at a rapid rate. Successive governments have ignored this problem for short term political expediency. It cannot be ignored any longer. If the left refuse to understand this simple concept, they won’t need to be taken out and shot. We will all die from poverty instead.