Schmenglish X

Sometimes I have to repeat stuff. Nobody listens to me (cep you guys).

I wish I could remember what I was reading yesterday morning. It was an interview with a military officer or university official or something…blah, I can’t recall. Anyway, I was reading through his comments, and stopped dead when I read, “And all the sudden…”

After that, I lost interest. Does that make me a bad person? I honestly don’t think I suffer from elitism here. I just mourn the death of our national grammatical conscience is all. Doesn’t anyone care anymore? Does no one care that horrible grammar makes one sound stupid? *sNiFfLE*

Then I had a thought (sometimes I do that). There are movements and causes everywhere. We are a nation of causes. Save the Whales. Save the Donkeys. Save the Butterflies. Save Route 66 (yay!).  Save the Old Jail downtown. Save the Outer Mongolian Tree Spider. TWITTER, fuh cripesake (aka Save the Random, Inconsequential Thoughts).

Well then, how about:

I mean, really. What defines a nation *first*? Its language; its primary form of communication. I know of no other language that is so routinely and indiscriminately mangled. Yes, yes, we’re a melting pot — a tossed salad — e pluribus unum, blah, blah. No excuse, sorry. Especially for native speakers. And I’m not talking about slang, or accents and regional idiosyncrasies (for instance, in Milwaukee, where I went to elementary and middle school, a water fountain was called a “bubbler”). Those are fine, and in many cases, interesting and fun.

RtB fiends know what I mean. I won’t go into it at 5:58 a.m. But listen. If we’re going to champion this cause (notice I’ve dragged you all into this), we need a way better slogan. I love the “Bad Grammar Destroys Nations” thing — but I can’t steal someone else’s gray matter.

So come on. What can fit on the front of a t-shirt? Certainly not the above logo, which I slapped together in 45 seconds. I promise to come up with something better. I’m willing to throw money at this, swear.

Sixth grade choir had better be fabulous first thing this morning…

Fink, in a mood

23 thoughts on “Schmenglish X

      1. Mathew

        Hey now, I resent that. Just because we have to be overcafinated in order to get through morning classes doesn’t mean tha— OHMYGOSHLOOKIT’SASQUIRREL.

        Reply
  1. Ross

    One of Texas Monthly’s better features is called “The Horse’s Mouth” where they interview people in various fields. In the current issue, the title is “Being a Grammarian” and it focuses on Bryan Garner, well-published writer on topics of grammar. His best line:

    “Proper grammar will always be important to those who care to have credibility with others.”

    Reply
    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Precisely! Barring conversational slang where it’s acceptable (like in an informal, personal weblog, MATHEW :P), I think it’s totally a credibility issue.

      I mean, look at what the whole “potato/potatoe” thing did to Dan Quayle. For good or ill, he was never allowed to live it down (Didn’t he say he was just reading a cue card? But still…). He probably gets ridiculed for it to this day. George Bush and his “nukular” gaffe continues to be a source of cringe comedy. Both instances eroded their credibility (as if they needed any help as politicians), AFAIC.

      All right, back to work. Have a great day, Ross.

      Reply
  2. Suzanne

    Confound it I had an articulate and compendious reply but I lost it. Was laughing at some of the silly responses. :)

    Dutch is also mangled but I think there’s a good reason. With words like chocoladapasta and verblijfsvergunning (and those are short words) people don’t really care. Also, people are upset that so much English is coming into the language. I don’t mind that, you see.

    Reply
  3. Old-man-bones

    I mean, really. What defines a nation *first*? Its language; its primary form of communication.

    Something which is primary shouldn’t be policed as though it has concrete rules… No, it doesn’t. Concrete rules are grounded in ontology. Grammar is not grounded in ontology. Its beauty is in its fluidity. In three years ‘all the sudden’ might be ‘correct’, and people will be blogging about you.

    I don’t want to do it all over again, so:

    http://fakepalindrome.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/grammur-lessin/#comments

    You’re entitled to your opinions about grammar but PLEASE don’t assume we’ve ALL got our undies on too tight.

    Reply
    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Respectfully, OMB…”Something which is primary shouldn’t be policed as though it has concrete rules”???? WTH???

      Grammar is, in fact, not grounded in ontology. It’s grounded in etymology. No one is saying you can’t have your opinions. You’re just as entitled to be wrong as anyone else.

      Reply
      1. Old-man-bones

        Can you police language?? Good luck with that. My beef isn’t with language, it’s with grammar, which I believe is ever changing and serves as a general structure, in order to help people convey their thoughts within a particular language. Within that, though, is the right of each person to ignore certain rules, in the interest of ‘correct expression’. We should be slaves to expressing ourselves properly, maybe, and not slaves to practically arbitrary rules which are as fleeting as what’s happening on TMZ.

        As I said before, this pet peeve of yours with grammar is just fine by me, but it doesn’t go beyond that in scope.

        Reply

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