American English is my native tongue, and I’ve loved it from the beginning. What a silly, silly language we have going on over here. We’ve got words from every language on the planet...
Banjo? Ukulele? Okra? Papoose? Ha ha ha! We will crush you and then we will steal your words!
English is a language of contradiction. It’s cool! Wait – no! It’s hot!
For cryin’ out loud, we have peace-keeper missiles! Peace keepers. (Good thing they’re not for blowing stuff up, huh? That would not be peaceful.)
As my son would say, the language is totally cheevil.
And that’s just English as we use it in the U.S. What about the “other” native English speakers? I refer, specifically, to the English-speaking English.
I can tell you – and you can believe me! – that in the U.S., anything said with an English accent is automatically interesting.
“Pardon me, love.”
Who, me? Insert furious blushing here. Heaven help me, he called me “love”.
Whatever you needed, my friend? You got it – just for saying “pardon me, love” in that adorable accent…
Of course, there are many people around the world who probably speak betterer English than its native speakers. Some people would have you believe that this is because students in other parts of the world – the same students, by the way, who would be happy to have the food you left on your plate, you ungrateful wretch! – are beaten with wooden rulers for educational transgressions.
As an aside, my parents never had to browbeat us into eating the foods we didn’t care for by mentioning “starving children in China” because there wasn’t a food that we wouldn’t eat. As a matter of fact, my father was continually trying to pull the good stuff away from us with comments about it being “terrible, terrible food – here let me relieve you of that…” and “none of this is good enough for you kids”.
But I digress.
Since blogging, I’ve been reading a number of bloggers from other parts of the world, people whose use of the language makes me weep with joy. I visit them, hoping for the crumbs of their vocabularies, but I suspect I’m starting to look more like a stalker than a slightly sinister if not entirely innocent fan.
They don’t answer my calls, they don’t accept my gifts of elbow-macaroni busts of their likenesses.
It gets disheartening.
But I love them! And if you’re reading, you English/Irish/Belgium/Australian/Indian/Carpathian gods and goddesses of words of murky pasts and colorful origins, my offer of a beer still stands…
Actually, that offer’s good for all of us. Cover charge will be a four-syllable (or better) mot juste that you can throw into everyday use without feeling self-conscious.
Be Not Separate
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