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Grammar Nutzi moment…..

May 16, 2013

I’m sorry…….

no, I’m not…….

Maybe it’s because we seem to be in such a hurry these days, ala the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland fame, but I’ve noticed a tendency for some people to speak in half sentences. Communication by its very nature requires that the listener attempt to decode the sounds made and body language displayed by the speaker, arriving at some understanding of the information so transmitted. When the message is conveyed by little more than a few grunts and a raised eyebrow, however, it’s difficult to take the speaker, let alone his information, seriously. I mean, if he/she is that bored with what he/she is about to say, so am I, before he even allegedly says it.

Could it be the height of arrogance to presume that one is so imbued with native brilliance that all one must do to amaze the masses is open ones mouth, exhale a couple of cc’s of stale air through the larynx, and initiate a body twitch? Of course it is. The resident oxymoron is that the least among us might do the same thing with a simple fart. In fact, the methodology is remarkably similar.

Languages do change and adapt with the passage of time, as do cultures and societies. I would like to think such changes are orderly and rational processes, but they are not. Therefore, when I suspect that I am living on the leftovers of a turn of phrase teetering on the brink of extinction without yet understanding the cues of its mutant replacement, I can’t help but wonder whether I am being exposed to some great Shakespearian Shift or just plain stupidity.

Born a few decades earlier or later and the Bard would have been a Bore. To his great favor, however, he arrived just in time to exploit the migration from Middle English to Early Modern English, as well as a deflation in the cultural currency previously enjoyed by the French language imported by the Normans a few centuries before. He so mastered the art of boldly intermixing contexts, meanings, and the words intended to convey those qualities in all three that he was rewarded handsomely for his insults and obscenities which audiences took as poetry and praise. They were all of the above.

Today, however, I have a hard time seeing any evolutionary parallel in some of the Rap crap and digitally influenced terms and concepts taking up airspace. When I hear somebody rattle off “Y’ know whut I’m sayin’, bro…?” five times in a ten word sentence, the only honest reply would be “I haven’t a clue…

There is an old phrase used for introducing a subjective comment about some issue to follow, but a crucial piece of the structure seems to have been left on the bus somewhere and hasn’t been seen since. Even worse, that doesn’t seem to bother anyone, except, perhaps, me.

Old style, one might hear something like:
“As far as the weather is concerned, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

However, in recent years that perfectly clear sentence has been gelded into:
“As far as the weather, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Isn’t that kind of like running into an old friend and saying “Hey! How the heck are?

That drives me bananas……..y’ know whut I’m sayin’…..?

 

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