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English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:44 am
by Archived Reply
Hello, fellow-USA-dwelling Englishman (lacking your actual name I will address you as Charles, in homage to Charlotte, NC):

Please pay no attention to the killjoys and cavillers who have been so lustily tugging at your beard! They have been having a tough time of it lately living down the resident President, their crocks o' stocks and their robbed jobs. So they are all extremely busy being miserable and humourless, which does not help them to see the silly side of American English (or Anguish, as I call it). And as your examples have shown, it can be very silly indeed (or crazily inspired, depending on the inventiveness of the speaker and your mood at the time)!

My reaction on landing in the middle of Kansas a couple of years ago was much the same as yours - something like: "What the hell kind of outlandish place have I landed in here, where the favoured mode of transport is the pick-up truck, the square-topped baseball cap tugged down across the nose is still the latest in grocery-shopping attire, and 'Huh?' is the most frequent question in normal conversation?"

I still get this feeling regularly, a sort of delicious tickling sensation in the pit of my stomach.

Why, only a few months ago I had just such a gastric event on spotting an item in the local paper, when it reported on NASA's attempts to work out what had happened to the Columbia space shuttle: 'Ron Dittemore, the shuttle program manager, said, "Examining where debris fell and where it was gathered is going to be very important as far as piecing the puzzle together as far as what happened at what altitude." '

How pusillanimous it would be for one's first thought to be something like "For me, the first step in working out what happened to the shuttle would be to try to piece together the puzzle of what Ron was trying to say, and in what order, let alone at what altitude."

No, no and thrice no! One's first response should be to praise Ron's bravura sentence construction! Fearlessly opening his mouth where he was about to place his foot, effortlessly scattering Strunk & White to the four winds though innocent readers choked in the slipstream, our doughty manager struck out bravely in every direction with his deathless prose, sliced deftly through the inconvenient straitjacket of logic, parried aside the entangling tinsel of syntactical convention, and with a final, decisive thrust embedded his linguistic poniard deep into the breast of sense in order to create a disjointedly, gloriously inspired statement which was all his own! It may have been strange, but it is beautiful in its way! And it is his!

It is in this spirit, I feel, that the mental spasms of George W Bush take exultant wing in statements such as, "You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order—order out of chaos. But we will"; or, "I think the American people—I hope the American–I don't think, let me—I hope the American people trust me"; or, "I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will."

Of course, it may fairly be said that Bush's actions both at home and abroad easily qualify him for the epithet of 'this century's worst ever US president' (a record which, with only 97 years to go, will take some beating); but let us not overlook his outstanding achievements as a language-mangler of the highest rank.

Whereas there is no particular honour or glory beyond the first flush of going down in history as a run-of-the-mill warmonger or an ordinary rogue - let alone a simple incompetent - George W Bush's contributions to Mangled Anguish, at least, know no parallel. And for this, if for little else, he will be remembered long after he has passed from the scene; if not quite fondly, at least with some nostalgic feeling.

So, Charles, I urge you to continue revelling in the linguistic strangenesses of your new stamping grounds! Make more notes, and keep sharing your findings! I at least will look forward to inspecting more of the rustic treasures collected from your new compatriots' creative tongues! They may not always glow with the burning brightness of Bush, but they are still little jewels, every one!

Ahmed: I fear that our rat-eating Eeyore of Transylvania is most likely responsible for the zoological input. Be consoled by knowing that evolution will settle his hash soon enough.

Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:58 am
by Archived Reply
What kind of action were you looking for?
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:13 am
by Archived Reply
Thanks Erik I love. These were sent to me the other day from a collector of the absurd. I found the exhilarating. Hop y”all get a chuckle!

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why? Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."
--Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff,"
--Mariah Carey

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body."
--Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward.

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country."
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president."
--Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it."
--A congressional candidate in Texas.

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
--John Wayne

"Half this game is ninety percent mental."
--Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
--Al Gore, Vice President

"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."
--Dan Quayle

" It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another"
--George W. Bush, US President

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
--Lee Iacocca

"I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version,"
--Colonel Oliver North, from his Iran-Contra testimony.

"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein,"
--Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback and sports analyst.

"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people."
--Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
--Bill Clinton, President

"We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
--Al Gore, VP

"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas."
--Keppel Enderbery

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change
in your circumstances."
--Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record."
--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:27 am
by Archived Reply
Sorry, after thanks Erik I love, there was, pre-spellcheck, an it.
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:56 am
by Archived Reply
At least DUH-bya was honest in the one quote you cited, Erik: "I don't think"!!! Truer words were never spoken! *G*
Reply from K. Allen Griffy (Springfield, IL - U.S.A.)

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:10 am
by Archived Reply
What is this about camel humping? Is bestiality forbidden by the Koran?
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:25 am
by Archived Reply
More to the point, is eating rats not in breach of Romanian food preparation regulations?
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:39 am
by Archived Reply
Eeyore, you need to be careful in what you say. Once a Fatwah is declared you really will be living amongst the rats. You wouldn't mind you are amongst friends.
BC Canada
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 8:53 am
by Archived Reply
Sure glad y'all got your frustrations out! I do believe most of the above comments fall afoul of one, if not two Clubhouse Rules. Paticularly: "Note that this site is moderated and abusive or asinine contributions will be deleted."

Leif, WA, USA

Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:08 am
by Archived Reply
Rules are for the untermenchen.
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:22 am
by Archived Reply
Try telling that to the judge.
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:37 am
by Archived Reply
Oh dear, my tummy hurts!
I can't remember having a laugh like this one in ages ;-)
Charles, they were beautiful, especially: "Your food stamps will be stopped effective March
1992 because we received notice that you passed away.
May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change
in your circumstances."
Although to be fair, such administrative c*ckups happen in Britain too.
Still, I have to agree on one point though:
I'm sure the American people are a kind and loving nation, but they don't half b*gg*r up the English language.
Have you ever watched a film where an English and an American actor star side by side? Which one invariably sounds like a moron?

Enough said...


Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:51 am
by Archived Reply
You limeys are too much; having professional wastrels called royalty is more ridiculous than our code of greed
masked by the fundaments religiosity.
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:05 am
by Archived Reply
What are you talking about?
Cliff, Boston.
Reply from ( - )

English english?

Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:20 am
by Archived Reply
What about Chinese English, Russian English , German English, Bantu English, Kikiyu English , Mongolian English,
Fiji English,ETC. ETC. ETC. HUH? HUH? HUH?
Reply from ( - )