When you spik inglis oll rong

Many of us speak English with a forked tongue. Say that in a nice way.



By Bikram Vohra (Between the Lines)

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019, 10:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Sep 2019, 12:09 AM

It all began on an aircraft when the captain's disembodied voice came across the system saying, this is your captain speaking. Was the word 'speaking' redundant in that unless he was engaged in doing the samba or the full Monty he was speaking. Surely, this is your captain should have been enough.
Later after the flight as we rolled to the gate the stewardess said, please remain in your seats until the plane comes to a complete halt. As opposed to what.half a halt?!
That day I decided to make a collection of 'say what's' or stuff we say without realising that is so completely wrong.
Many of us speak English with a forked tongue. Say that in a nice way. Like we mess about with the language, mangling it like laundry without realising we are doing that. Yesterday I heard a high-profile executive say he has to 'cope up' with the situation, whatever the situation was. You don't cope up, down or sideways.
You simply cope. Pretty much like half the emails you get thanking you for reverting back. With due respect, friend, you cannot revert forward so the 'back' is redundant.
If you go to the shops they tell you to avail now of the sale. Great, go ahead, but you cannot avail later so the 'now' is pointless.
And for those who want to do things early don't 'prepone' them, that word is not the opposite of postpone. Understandably, since its use is so prevalent some dictionaries, including the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionaries, have given it the okay and classified it under Indian English terms that are used informally.
Occasionally, when I am listening to the FM channels and the RJs are talking at full speed and mixing up their 'v's and 'w's the three errors they make frequently are 'true fact', 'very unique' and 'each and everyone.' All are delightfully wrong but no one seems to think it necessary to correct themselves. And you are never wery wery velcome.
A friend of mine who sees himself as an exponent of English told me he was fortunate to find an empty space for his car in the parking lot. Just to rib him I said, if it wasn't empty, it wouldn't be a space, right, so you can't find a filled space if you see space as a physical position rather than an empty emptiness. He wouldn't buy it and we could not have a 'consensus of opinion' which is so unnecessary but we all say it. And that is not a 'new innovation', because if it was old it would not be an innovation.
Pick up the newspaper and it says 'armed gunman' attacks couple. Fine but what would an unarmed gunman look like, what would he be carrying and still be called a gunman?
And 'pass out' means to faint not finish your studies with or without distinction.
Though I do express the hope that you are never in 'close proximity' to him as opposed to distant proximity which would make it an oxymoron. Perhaps the 'most worst' lot are those who insist on saying, "I am going to ascend up the elevator." You can't ascend down, can you?
I have even heard people say, see you at 12noon. Or the show is tonight at 10pm. Noon means 12 o'clock in the middle of the day, and tonight at 10 is self-explanatory, why pm?
I don't know what you'll think is the 'end result' of this little essay but you can drop the end and I'll still be 'unexpectedly surprise' if you 'join together' in enjoying it. By the way this article was not pre-recorded. That one really gets me.
Though Live recording is a step ahead of it all.
Now wonder you 'clench your fist.' Dude, if it is a fist it is already clenched.
Except then it would already be clenched.get it.
- bikram@khaleejtimes.com


More news from OPINION