Second Impression – Linguistic Transgressions 1
How often have you met someone whose first impression has your eyes peeled only to have this person speak and leave you with your jaw agape?
This shall be the beginning of postings addressing how we native English speakers are butchering our own language to the confusion and even dismay of some non-native English speakers. At the very least we are setting a bad example to follow and contributing to the “dumbification” (my word) of the most widely used language on the planet in which to conduct business and international affairs. Be they grammar flubs, mispronunciations, misuses and just plain old annoyances in our spoken mother tongue, the following are anecdotal examples of some common missteps that are simply a nuisance to some and a major infraction to others’ aural sensitivities. Some may appear to be more associated with geographic regions and others with socio-cultural and educational environments, so let that suffice as my disclaimer for the time being but nonetheless…
“We had went”. Now I refuse to believe that this is solely a transgression in the south where I currently reside, but no matter. We all learned the prefect tense in grammar school (hence the name). We have just gotten (not got) sloppy with it. It’s one of my pet infractions that just stops me dead in my unforgiving listening tracks. Obviously others have remembered some of the perfect tense, “I seen her” but not the helping verbs “have/had” that make it work, but these folks are just misusing seen for saw.
“Nucular”. This is by far my favorite mispronounced word in the english language. What adds insult to injury is that it’s in your face on a daily basis uttered in the media by journalists, politicians and worse yet scientists (seriously?) The word is NUCLEAR (nu’ kle er). Just pronounce it as it is spelled…(unlike iron).
ATM machine. What do you think the “M” stands for?…(Automatic Teller Machine). This is acronym redundancy at its best. And what about VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number). There’s plenty more…
There, I’ve said it…for now.