Tuesday, 31 January 2012

An open letter to my American friends

As well as all the usual clichés, there are four phrases that really grate on me:
  • give someone a heads up;
  • touch base;
  • keep me in the loop;
  • push the envelope.

Those phrases are, of course, a result of you Americans mangling our beloved English language. I know you are not the only ones to do it, those irrepressible Australians have done it as well. Or I should say, have tried to do it. Frankly, their efforts are more laughable that irritating. "Strides" for trousers; "tinny" for a can of beer. Those really are just puerile.

There are other ways you have marmalised the language as well. For your information, pants go underneath trousers and vests go underneath shirts. The sleeveless garment worn over the shirt is a waistcoat (sometimes pronounced weskitt) and over this one wears a jacket, not a coat. A coat is a garment worn over the jacket and usually comes down below the knees.

Of course, all this started when you dear folks had a bit of a paddy and threw your toys out of the pram. Well, the tea into the harbour. (That's another thing: words like colour, harbour and honour all have a "u" in them.) Anyway, since then you have, I'm sorry to say, fallen in with some very dubious, not to say shady, characters. A thoroughly bad lot, some of them. There were the French to start with. They so mesmerised you that you turned a blind eye to all their shenanigans when they started lopping heads of left, right and centre. And then they conned you into buying Louisiana. After the French it was the Spanish. And what did you get from them? Las Vegas and Los Angeles? I ask you!

Surely you must have noticed by now that those southern European countries are very bad company to keep. Just look at Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Each of them threw over their monarchy and resorted to dictatorship - and just look at the state of their economies now. You need to be very careful or you will find yourselves losing that triple A rating as well.

Another of the unforeseen results of that tantrum is that you elect a new head of state every four years. As soon as one moves into the White House, you start planning to remove him - and spend many millions of dollars in the process. We, on the other hand, have a head of state who, come next Monday, will have been in office for 60 years. And we know who her successor will be. And he's been in training now for a good many years. And what's more, we are already starting to train his successor!

Now, dear ones, why don't you just admit that it was all a ghastly mistake and set about making the Queen your head of state? Look at all the benefits there would be: you could play the real man's game of rugby instead of that padded-up set-piece you call football; and I'm sure that, clever people that you are, you would very quickly pick up the rules of cricket. Of course, there would have to be something in it for us. For a start, you could promise to stop mangling our language.

So, why don't you think about it? Give all your mates a heads-up, put do keep me in the loop. We can touch base again a bit later, but please make sure you don't push the envelope too far.


Uncle Skip, said...

Obviously you are out of the loop.
We got Florida from Spain; L.A. and Vegas from Mexico (who got when they separated from Spain during their revolution)

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thanks for the heads up!

(Well, slap my wrist.)

Brighton Pensioner said...

Come to think of it, Florida has swamps and alligators. What were you thinking of?

The Broad said...

About time you got your ducks in a row and realized that the US has lost its triple A rating! ;-)

Buck said...

...I'm sure that, clever people that you are, you would very quickly pick up the rules of cricket.

Nope. I tried and that is just a bridge too far. Besides that, who on God's Green Earth has the time to watch a sporting event that lasts for DAYS? I remain amazed that you managed to con several Third World nations into playing along with you in this space.

wv: slogr. Yup. Cricket is that. ;-)

Anonymous said...

There are English ones that set my teeth on edge.

"You're doing my haed in"

"Off of" as in, take your feel off of the table...IT'S JUST OFF...no OF!

Don't get me started!