Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Curmudgeon writes

Speak English!


This is not a tirade against people who come to a country and refuse to learn the local language albeit in my neck o' the woods it easily could be the tirade's topic.

This IS a tirade against native speakers - especially college-"educated" people in the media - who apparently flunked First Grade English.

This is not a new phenomenon; as a reporter covering courts (vs. being a court reporter who transcribes what is said in a courtroom). I have seen many letters from collegians that are rife with misspellings and grammatical faux pas.

I get most of my news via the Internet and the tv.

Headline writers seem unable to comprehend that "over" is not synonymous with "more than" and, likewise, that "under" does not mean "less than."

Yes, I KNOW English is a "living language." It changes when people coin new words, and it changes when too many people misuse a word; e.g., "over" when they MEAN "more than."

Reporters, especially in the "electronic media," seem confused about the words "burglary" and "robbery."

While both are theft, "burglary" is theft from a property; an automobile, a building, any "thing."

"Robbery" is theft from a person.

A building is "burglarized"; a person is "robbed."

By the way, a person is "hanged by the neck until dead" while everything else is "hung"; the clothes are "hung" on the line to dry (assuming the Home Owners' Association allows clotheslines). Things, including people, may be "hanging" from something (rafters, branches).

People "lie" down to rest. You may "lay" down (put down) an object, e.g., a baby, a book; when you get up from your rest, you can say that you "laid" - or "lied" - down. Using "lay" in context of a human's activity is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

Writing of SEX - now that I have regained your attention - the word is applied to humans and animals; "gender" is reserved for all other things, such as language that (not "which") fortunately English lacks. (I know of no language other than English that lacks gender association for nouns, verbs, et al. I confess I know about fewer languages than I have fingers on my hands.)

Consider. A person may be described as "sexy." Have you ever heard of anyone defined as "gendery?"

While I lack the vocabulary of the late Hubert Horatio Humphrey or the also late William Frank Buckley, I DO appreciate proper use of the few words I know and love. Politics aside, both men were a delight to hear.

There should be no excuse for misspelled words. Most word processors include fairly decent spell check, and if those fail, there are on-line (on line? online?) dictionaries to rescue the author, and if THOSE don't provide the correct spelling, try the Unabridged or, hie yourself off to a decent Thesaurus for an alternate word.

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