Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Am a Nazi

"I should of went there alone."

"I could care less."

"I feel nauseous."

"Between you and I, I ain't never eating at Burger Schlock again."

Statements such as these make me cringe. They hurt my ears. Nails on a blackboard; cowbells (especially wielded by female singers, but that is another blog); Helen Reddy.

Yes, according to many, I am a Grammar Nazi. What a terrible appellation. But, since Jerry Seinfeld okayed this n-word, dealing with a portrayal of a nasty Irani soupmaker in Gotham, we take a word from one of the darkest eras of modern history and canonize it.

Fret not, readers. All dozen of you. I will not bring up the myriad errors I hear and read every day. And how to correct them. It's the prevailing attitude toward acceptable English (in America) that irks me.

A real conversation:

Fan: I hear youse guys is making your final debut.
Bandmate: 'Final debut' makes no sense.
Fan: I didn't know we was being so proper.

Language manglers often say, "Well, you know what I mean."

No. I don't know what you mean.

Imagine if we treated other spheres of our lives with such disregard.

Cashier: Lemme see. That's $6.15. Out of ten? Your change is three-somethin'.

Car dealer: That model's gonna run you about 23 grand.

State cop: Lessee, you were doin' around 56 in a 55 zone.

Farmer: That corn? We picked it a couple, two, tree days ago.

Grocer: That mayo's good for a few weeks yet.

Sports: It's second down and four or five yards.

I can tell you firsthand that in Germany, people at the lowest economic stratum speak perfect Deutsch. It is an unpardonable gaffe to err, language-wise. They passed a law (Rechtschreibreform) in 1996 to deal with language inconsistencies.

In France, you've got the Académie française, established in 1635, no less. Ooh, that's right, everything French is wrong (don't get me started on this!). The Real Academia Española governs twenty-one different countries. And don't you dare mess with the Office québécois de la langue française. Those folks are fighting for not just proper language ... but for its preservation.

I recently watched a television program dealing with hobbyists in England. Curious kids flocked to see model trains at an exhibition. Many were interviewed. All of the youngsters had holes in their clothing. They needed grooming, perhaps a good bath. Every one of them spoke exemplary English, with an advanced vocabulary—by American standards, anyway. So there.

No, I don't know how to fix this. I think Trump might opt for a mullet before we start speaking and writing better.

Call me a Nazi if you must. I prefer Language Prescriptor.

That's all's I know.

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