You say tamaita, I say termahtaThe Dude thinks
that we English people speak very odd English
Well, gor blimey, guv, strike me dahn wiva feaver. Doncha unnerstan proper English? Aincha ad a good lissenta Dick Van Dyke?
Unfortunately, the British Library's collection of British Accents and Dialects (Windows Media Player required)
does not seem to have a London accent in its nigh on 700 sound bites, so you'll have to watch as many movies featuring Jason Statham
as you can; then you'll have a notion of what I sound like when I speak Sarf Lunnon.
Actually, we Brits have problems with English as she is spoke by our colonial cousins.
Following yesterday's post about Sod's Law, the Dude comments that sod, to an American, is a premixed lawn product that you roll out over your bare yard, and six months later, you have a decent lawn. Why in the world would a prepared lawn mixture have a law?
What we Brits would like to know is how come a "piece of a surface layer of earth containing grass plants with their matted roots" (Webster's. pub. USA)
is "a premixed lawn product". Is it crass commercialism, as in the patenting of genomes?
My tale of woe yesterday of Sod's Law (note the capitalisation), known in the US as Murphy's Law for some reason, was intended to show that shit happens wherever you are; it is a universal truism. However, it may be worth noting the Irish connection. The old sod
is one's native land, Ireland, and under the sod
means dead and buried. Murphy is, of course, an Irish name.
Not even Michael Quinion, who writes about International English from a British perspective at World Wide Words
, can be definitive about either term.
I've recently read The Mother Tongue
by Bill Bryson, about American English, which, in essence, points out that English speaking Americans base much of their language on what was taken over from Britain, including Ireland, by early settlers, who, because they were minority groups, did not speak mainstream English.
Given that the British Empire pre-dates this US-led era of globalisation, one could argue that British English is still the core of what passes for International English. We spread it first
But, of course, there isn't just one English. The USA has different dialects
which are equally acceptable, although Northerners deem their version to be superior to that of Southerners.
Oddly enough, the reverse used to be true in England with the King's (or Queen's) English, also known as received pronunciation
, as used by the 'upper classes' and BBC announcers who, presumably, went through the public school system ~ which is, of course, limited to the monied classes and, therefore, private.
Thankfully, this has changed in the past 40 or so years. For me, the joy of English is that, like all living languages, it is continually transmuting. All of us who are comfortable with the internet have also had to come to terms with much new vocabulary, alternative spellings and grammatical variations.
Have you 'gotten' that, Dude?
Meanwhile, may I wish all my readers a Happy Easter, which I hope is the same in all languages.
Don't eat too many eggs.