Saving The English Language


We all know by now that Fall Out Boy, together with the valiant assistance of the legendary Sir Elton of John, recently attempted to “Save Rock And Roll”. We do not know whether they succeeded, but since Elton is as rich as Croesus and is a friend to all in need, it is highly likely that they did.

Which brings us to today’s burning question: can we save the English language from its downward spiral of (mainly Americanised) abuse?

Let us first consider Exhibit A: Nicki Minaj, an unapologetic mangler of the English language. I have reproduced below some of her insightful lyrics to one of her latest offerings, “Anaconda” – a ditty apparently concerned with the wellbeing of reptiles:

“Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
Oh my gosh, look at her butt
(Look at her butt)
Look at, look at, look at
Look at her butt.”

Let us compare this to Exhibit B: a quote from Romeo and Juliet. Written by one William Shakespeare, we might assume that the appreciation of his work will continue for quite some time longer than Ms Minaj’s might:

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

I know that it is hardly fair to compare the two, but both represent popular entertainers of their time. Imagine if the actors in a Shakespearean play had bounded onto the stage to declare in tremulous tones, “My anaconda don’t want none…unless you got bunz, hun!” I think this demonstrates very well the systematic destruction of the English language in quite an alarming way.

There are many terms that have worked their way into everyday modern language that really grind my gears (see what I did there?). Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you “haters” “date night”, and “cupcake”.

The contraction of normal phrases also seems to have become the norm, as if it is almost too much effort to say two words when an invented one will do the job just as well. For example, VIP’s with nothing useful to do no longer sit on the front row at fashion shows – they sit on the “frow”. The models no longer sashay down the catwalk, they “walk the runway”. To me, that sounds both dangerous and instantly regrettable.

Even films don’t get released on the correct day of the month any more – you can’t see one on January the third, you must see it “from January three” (complete with growling voice-over – go see it if you dare).

I know that language evolves over time, and of course this post is only tongue-in-cheek and designed to be humorous. Well, at least slightly.

So I will have to “suck it up and move on”, as they all now say, leaving the last word to Shakespeare himself (had he been alive today):

“Listen to many, speak to a few. And for pity’s sake, stop writing dreadful songs about your bottom”.