As the world continues to get smaller day by day the individuality of the way people speak is becoming less apparent. Before the days of the influence of radio, television and the internet people used to speak differently depending on the town or region that they lived in. In
Today that uniqueness in speech between town and region is somehow being slowly diluted. There is something sad about that loss of identity. I like watching human behaviour, each individual has they own unique characteristics and it can be interesting to people watch to see these characteristics play out in real life mode much like a scientists watching chimpanzees interact in the wild. People do quirky things, and its entertaining. It’s the same with languages. Language is a powerful tool and there is no one right way to speak. There is the Queen’s English that ‘one used to have to learn if one intended to work for the BBC’ and then there is the English that you learn from the area you have been brought up in. Each form of English has their place.
Language is a constantly evolving beast, the words don’t change very often but they way we use them and the order we use them changes frequently. If I were to move to
Language can be fun for its differences. Differences in accent and colloquial speech should be celebrated. Well most of the time anyway. Lately though I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. The rise of ‘ned’ speak. Neds are a species of Scot that traditionally have lived in certain areas of the West of Scotland. You can recognize Neds by the clothes they wear but mostly by the way they speak. Neds speak with an accent that makes even me cringe but not only that they speak like they don’t have a High School education.
I lived the first 6 and half years of my life in areas that Neds were traditionally prevalent but if I dared to speak like them I got a ‘quick clip round the lug’ (Scottish for, quick slap in the ear) for my sins. However lately when I hear Scottish youths speak no matter what part of Scotland they are from, whether it the West of Scotland or the North East of Scotland, I hear Neds everywhere. It used to be insulting to be considered a Ned now it seems it be a right of passage. What’s worse is these children are actually passing their English exams (well some of them are) despite the fact that they are talking like lazy 9 year olds. Not only that they are not using perfectly serviceable Scottish or British phrases that have used for centuries but instead replacing them with American phrases instead.
I have many American friends and I have no problem with Americans using Americanisms. They are after all American, although I must admit I find the use of ‘mom’ instead of ‘mum’ is a little bit grating to my ear, not to mention ‘like ohmigod!!!’
It’s Americanisms with Scottish or British accents that I just cannot abide. It’s so wrong I can’t possibly tell you how wrong it sounds.
I personally can’t do accents, the only accent I can do is my own, which I don’t happen to like very much, thankfully I only hear it on rare occasions. I would love to be able to do other accents but my attempts to do an Irish or Geordie accent have all ended in failure. So instead I admit to taking phrases that I hear when speaking to people from the
"Hey! How are you?"
"I'm good, thanks. You?"
"Yeah, good. Like ohmigod, that is, like, a ginormous bruise!"
"Yeah, I did it last week, tripping over this humungous rock in the middle of the … er, sidewalk."
"I know, I know, stupid. I had to be hospitalised."
"You are kidding me!"
"Nuh-uh. But hey, we're going to be late. Are you good to go?"
Now for those of you who have been blessed with having seen the Glaswegian export that is Taggart imagine the above conversation in a
Americanisms are everywhere. You hear them spoken by newsreaders in
The problem is not just that Geordies and Glaswegians sound like numpties (Scottish word for fools/idiots) when they say "enough already"; it's that colloquial American is the linguistic equivalent of the strip mall, slowly but surely homogenising English in the way that car-friendly shopping centres have made clones of cities around the world. Something has to be done. We've put on American English like a big collective verbal uniform
Yes, yes, I know: languages are always evolving. But we seem to have joined our hothoused planet in a process of accelerated change.
Now before I finish this post I thought I’d give those of you not in the know an introductory cookery lesson in Ned Speak. Unfortunately due to my upbringing I’m not overly familiar with Ned speak myself so I did steal the following from the BBC, oh how Auntie has fallen in 80 years.
This is your introductory cookery lesson for all you fat, pie-eating Jabba the Huts oot there that couldnae make themselves a cup of tea and huv tae phone in a takeaway when thur burd’s at the bingo. Nae more sittin’ stuffin’ yir fat coupons full of chippy grub anymore, for over this lesson we‘ll be gettin‘ gastronomic ned-style.
And tae start the course, where better to go than the land of posh nosh,
COQ AU VIN
Awright. That’s it fir the cookin’ lark fir wan week. Cheerio, and if yer cookin’ fir yer burd, make sure she does the dishes and you get yer nadjins for yer troubles. That’s all fae the glaikit chef.