Monday, February 2, 2009

Lets be very careful out there

In a copyrighted article dated January 31, 2009, the Associated Press has exposed the soft underbelly of the current state of the English language in, of all places, England.

The French have their Académie française to keep the linguistic wolves at bay and supposedly protect their precious language from all enemies, foreign and domestic, but English, alas, has no such Maginot Line to fall back on. People are free to do whatever they jolly well please to the English language. And in Birmingham, England, my friends, they have done it, reaching a new high in absurdity.

I direct your attention to the article, “Its a catastrophe for the apostrophe in Britain” by writer Meera Selver.

I hardly know what to say. We could, as Cole Porter did not write and Ella Fitzgerald did not sing, say, “Its delightful, its delicious, its delectable, its delirious, its dilemma, its de limit, its deluxe, its de-lovely!”

Or we could, as Cole Porter also did not write and Ella Fitzgerald did not sing, say, “Lets call the whole thing off.”

Or, if you think those responses are a bit extreme, we could just try to remember what Sergeant Phil Esterhaus did not tell us every week on Hill Street Blues back in the eighties: “Lets be very careful out there.”


  1. I can't believe the atrocities heaped on the lowly apostrophe these days. It just isn't that hard, people! Contractions and possessives, except for pronoun possessives, and never for plurals! Got it? Good.

  2. Shameful. It is great that the English language has always been so open to change and addition but getting rid of the apostrophe is something that only ignorant fools could have dreamed to judge as acceptable. Thank you for pointing this matter out.

  3. A gift for you:

    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''. Use as desired.

    In re: British street signs -- Mrs. V. would have had a hissy fit!

  4. May the poor tired old apostrophe rest in peace. Its time has passed. One less thing to clutter up our computer keyboards with. One less problem for the spell checker.
    So long old buddy you won't be missed by most of us.
    O! Darn it's only in England.

  5. Tracie (Rosezilla) - Two areas that have changed in my lifetime are plurals of numerals and acronymns or abbreviations that are in all caps. 1950's and ABC's used to be considered all right, but nowadays I tend to see 1990s and CDs/DVDs. Any thoughts?

    Yorkshire Pudding, Esq. - I couldn't have said it better myself!

    Pat - An Arkansas Stamper - What a thoughtful gift! But where shall I keep them?

    Dr. John Linna of Neenah, Wisconsin - Even in your eulogy you said "won't" and "it's" -- so I suspect the PTOA (poor tired old apostrophe) will be with us for a while yet.

  6. Well, it seems that ever so often the language elitists change things up to keep ahead of the peasants. They also change the pronunciation of things just to annoy people. Nothing to be alarmed about, particularly since you caught 'em at it!

  7. Tracie (Rosezilla), you are certainly right about changes in pronunciations. Everybody in this country used to say Care-uh-BEE-an and a few years ago that sea was suddenly the Cuh-RIBBY-an. And Yom KIP-per turned into Yom-ka-POOR. Our British cousins have always said DEB-ree and La-BOR-uh-tree and they call diapers napkins and cookies biscuits and hoods bonnets and trunks boots, but they are more to be pitied than censured. :)