Tuesday, 1 December 2009

English, but for how much longer?

TV news reporters in the UK have developed
a habit of sprinkling their reports with phrases like steppingup to the plate, and asking for ballpark figures. I'm told these are sporting terms, but since I don't know which sports the phrases come from, and certainly don't play them, I have very little idea what they mean. I suspect the former means rising to the challenge, but the latter means less than nothing to me. Sue Barker looked me straight in the eye from a tennis court the other day and bade me Go figure! I'm still wondering what she wanted me to do.
More and more I hear the dreaded off of used, and it won't be long before gotten is ringing in our ears. Already we have the flip side, downtown, and train station. We use cutlery in the UK, not silverware and we don't build our towns in blocks. A sucker, to me, is something that sticks, and not as Obama used it the other day, a turkey. We have waiters, not servers.
I groan at the tv in despair. We have a beautiful language that is capable of expressing so many shades and nuances of meaning, and it is very different to the language spoken by our American friends.
When I'm in America, reading an American novel or watching American tv, I enjoy the differences in language. Their language suits their lifestyle and their philosophy of life.
But in the UK, in my own home, I want to hear British English. The BBC is one of the prime influences on the people of this country and should uphold the fine traditions of our language. If we want the UK's children to grown up speaking good English, then we should make sure they hear it every day via our tv screens.
Speak to your news reporters, please, BBC.

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