Friday, February 25, 2011

Er, can I have a word? An infrequent survey of current usage. (Part2)

In a previous blog, I discussed the trend, by some sports broadcasters, toward shortening 'regularly' to 'reguly'. Well, I can report that the trend is rapidly heading toward fait accompli status. The lost syllable, rather like Jimmy Durante's 'Lost Chord' is getting frequent airplay, not just here in NZ but also in the UK and the USA. And not just by sports broadcasters but by political and current affairs pundits too.
Happily, 'reguly' is not alone. It has been joined by 'particuly' and 'probaly'. It will be interesting to see whether or not radio and TV stations continue to give currency to this modification of adverbs. It occurred to me that there is a well-established precedent in the use of 'Parlament' by political reporters- the 'i' having gone missing in action some time ago. Another redundant syllable.

Cricket broadcasters also have revived a splendid misnomer from the past. Once more we are informed that a shot by a batsman has 'dissected' the field rather than 'bisected' two fieldsmen. Actually, I'm all in favour of vivisection being practiced on our cricketers. That would, at least, give them some practical purpose.

I have also noticed an interesting ploy that some broadcasters use when they are aware that they have made a factual mistake. Looking earnestly at the camera, they intone; 'Let's get that right', thus co-joining us, the unwitting viewers, to their blunder. Nice.

Cricket broadcasters are also responsible for another curiosity of what I suppose is evolving usage. Where the definite article is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, rather than hardening 'the' to 'thee' to create a natural break between the two words, a 'y' is added to the beginning of the second word thus by-passing inflection. So, instead of; 'At thee end of thee over...', we have; 'At the yend of the yover he hit the ball in the yair.'  This phenomenon, too, I should report, is spreading. Yesterday, on radio news, I heard; 'He yonly just got the news..'  As Popeye said; 'I yam what I yam.'

Finally, another curiosity, that's been around for a while, that I like. The use of 'Yous' to indicate 'All of you' or 'You lot' is something I often hear used by kids in town or by anyone at all in country areas. One of the many oddities of the English language is its inability to distinguish between second person singular and second person plural. It's 'You' in both cases. French and German, for example, both make the distinction. Indeed, in German, there is even a verb that is used to describe the formal transition from the use of the formal plural case to the more intimate singular. 'Yous' solves the problem.

1 comment:

  1. Our Prime Minister is proficient in the art of syllable shortening. Makes ya proud to be a Kiwi!