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Why people spik inglish oll rong: 2

Actual experience. Don't want to hurt your feelings but if it was an experience it has to be real, right?



By Bikram Vohra

Published: Wed 11 Sep 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Sep 2019, 10:52 PM

After I wrote a piece on speaking English properly and ensuring it was 'not oll rong' when writing or speaking it, I was inundated with thousands of comments, well hundreds for sure, actually, 12 I am certian. Okay, I confess, three e-mails, one of which was written by my daughter largely to correct me on the word 'prepone.' It has bullied its way into the dictionary by sheer persistence and is now legitimate. If you say so.
Anyway, this overwhelming public response to the first piece has encouraged me to write a sequel like now I am the Rambo of the language. But it is great fun to list the crutches we use to wriggle our way out of the mess we make when we unwittingly cripple the language. It is probably good for any language but let us deal only with English here and see how we do, in a given day, err with great panache and inelegance and never know it.
My five favourites of illogical logic that deep and abiding research has proven is endemic and hits the plus 90 per cent arc are (and here goes, be honest when you assess yourself):
Actual experience. Don't want to hurt your feelings but if it was an experience it has to be real, right? It cannot be artificial so since you will never say in my cooked-up experience, the addition of 'actual' is redundant. Your experience is an absolute.  Yet, just about everyone I know has to qualify it.
Just as they all give advance notice. Even schools and colleges which are founts of knowledge put up advance notices. Can you have a notice in retreat like a defeated army?
I was speaking to one of those tycoons who started off poor and he said, when I first began ... now, it does not sound wrong and most of us use this phrase with casual abandon but 'began' is always in the lead and you cannot have a second began or a third so just say 'when I began' since it serves the purpose.
What about free gift? This was written on a sign in an ad some days back that promised you a free gift if you spent a certain sum of money. If it is not free it isn't a gift, period.
To add a little controversy to this cleaning up exercise there is end result which one school of thought says is perfectly valid since there can be an interim result, hence the end result. Purists do not agree because they believe that you can say final result but not end result because it only repeats the intent or statement. The examination or exercise can be end of term but the result is the result. What is your opinion on this one?
When I was teaching media at various institutions I would very often hear professors say, first and foremost let us be whatever. And it is a fact that tautology or the agonising repetition of a sentiment is one of the worst afflictions in language. Personally speaking . how would you impersonally speak.
They arrived one after the other in succession, you kidding.
 He is frank, candid and honest - if you removed two of  these, would his character  suffer.
Say it again once more, our literature teacher would speak in this manner.
Then we mangle the cadence of language by creating our own peculiarities that never saw the inside of a Wren and Martin grammar book.
Here are some examples:
The evening sunset was stunning. I am sure it was and it would have been a lot more stunning if it had been in the morning.
Sleep is coming. By Uber or walking down the garden path.
Do one thing. Come hell or high water you cannot do a thing . you just cannot.
Nor, my good friend, can you do the needful. Needful does not exist. Like the Monty Python parrot in the words of John Cleese, it is a dead.
Myself so and so, yourself. Myself running away.
Meet me at the backside of the building. Say what.
Raju is a gem of a person. Which one, a diamond, an opal or simply semi-precious.
-bikram@khaleejtimes.com


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