Wednesday, 7 January 2009

"Lost for Words"

I have just finished reading a very entertaining book called "Lost for Words" by the distinguished British broadcaster John Humphreys. (If you are reading this, cheers, Marilena!). He obviously cares a lot about the future of the English language. For example, how would you feel if you overheard the following ?

"wot u up 2 l8tr? Nice day, innit? You see, like, I woz wondring, like, I mean, innit, dunno, really, like, I wanna do summat, but ya know......."

I have actually overheard youngsters speak in such a way and it makes my blood boil from a linguistic and pedagogical point of view. I have had to stop myself from correcting their incorrect but socially acceptable spoken "argot". It's a form of "street cred", innit? I would hate the English language to go down this desultory path. The book questions who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.

Well, actually, to tell you the truth, if you ask me, as far as I see it, it's a dead cert that educators and parents should take the rap. Again, I have just deliberately used some very common expressions that tend to be overused in the English language.

Look at "BBC Learning English" for some excellent lessons on words such as "innit" and "be like"which are gradually infiltrating the language.

I would really love some feedback on what you think about this topic. Is the English language going to the dogs?? Please feel free to comment!


Alex Case said...

I also borrowed it off someone a couple of months ago, and I found it to be entertaining and then increasingly irritating as he both used logical arguments to support his claims and then claimed he didn't need logical arguments when there were none.

Thanks for the link to my blog, btw, and some of the other links were new to me and have been added to mine, e.g. Word Spy.

LLJB said...

Hi Alex
Thank you very much for your comments- greatly appreciated!

I've just read your very interesting posting "The Voice of the TEFL Course". The pertinent questions you asked would make Jeremy Paxman proud!

I'm glad you like Word Spy. I learn loads from it. Yesterday I read about "Generation "O" for the first time.