Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Writing - Use of words and English

Now I am not a great fan of Reality TV shows but every now and again a gem is thrown up. If you have three minutes please have a look at this comedian.

Jack Carroll


Use of English

I was inspired to write about the use of our language as a result of listening to Jack Carroll (14). He is a schoolboy with cerebral palsy who seems to be totally uninhibited and is genuinely funny. He uses puns, pokes fun at his own situation and has superb timing, as well as being very intelligent. One of the 'jokes he told was,

'I have to tell you I can't stand.....
I need to re-emphasise.
I have to tell you I can't stand' 

Now I know you will have read that and be thinking David has finally lost it, but try saying the first and third lines with different emphasis and you will see what I mean. The audience thought it hilarious.

So back to the Use of English. When I was in the fifth form at school, the year we took our GCE examinations, we all took English Language and if we failed it we took it again and again. However, if it was realised that a child would never pass, the powers that be had an alternative and it was Use of English. I have no idea what the course work was like or what the examination entailed as I was fortunate to have passed my GCE English Language, but a good friend of mine didn't and took the alternative. 
Now this friend of mine had a very strong mackem accent and a keen and very able mathematical mind but he couldn't get to grips with English, a criticism levelled at many natives of Mackem land! The problem being for him that Use of English wasn't recognised by UK universities. He ended in the University of Perth, Western Australia and became an air traffic controller and then worked for a computer firm. Seems rather a shame that a system can be so inflexible that a talented and able person can be disadvantaged to the point that they have to emigrate.

Then there are fun mistakes

My children seemed to have inherited a keen sense of what is right and wrong in written English. My eldest pointed out a sign which we had to pass on the way into Headingley Cricket Ground a couple of weeks ago. It said amongst other things:-

'Please don't bring dangerous weapons into the ground!'

Are there any other sort?

The youngest works at a bank checking, along with other stuff, the quality of letters being sent out to customers and often says that people like Yoda they are writing. The verb at the end of the sentence they are placing. Whatever happened to subject - verb - object?

And just for fun

Dog for sale: Eats anything; especially fond of children.

Dinner special - Chicken or Beef $2.25; Turkey $2.35; Children $2.00

For sale: Antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.

Wanted: Girl to assist magician in cutting off head illusion. Salary and Blue Cross.

Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it!

And finally, for those who are or have been married this quote from an insurance claim form:-

'I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment!'

God Bless