Posted on November 15th, 2010by
In English, UK vs US English, Words | Leave a Comment »
Hot on the heels of Emma Thompson’s attack on ‘sloppy’ language, another actress has been bemoaning the state of English.
Penelope Keith, star of The Good Life, has given an interview to The Sunday Telegraph in which she states:
“Language is my bugbear. Everyone says things now like ‘I was sat’ instead of ‘I was sitting’, which just sounds so ugly.
“I know language has to evolve and progress, but what we’re doing is diminishing ours by getting rid of present participles like ‘sitting’. It’s so much more descriptive than ‘I was sat’, which really offends me.
“And, of course, American pronunciation, too: if I hear anyone else say ‘irrevocable’ on the Today programme, I shall break every wireless in the world. I recently did a Noel Coward play, and someone on the team told me they’d ‘researched’ it,” she recalls, with a shudder.
Keith puts some of the blame for the demise on social networking and is also concerned that the ‘misuse’ of language is leading to the death of manners. To round off the interview she also criticises the current state of British television and “the demise of general family viewing” (whatever that may be). Whew.
I may be getting old, but I do think Keith has a point when she says:
“In this great age of communication, there are a lot of people you can’t actually understand. I know everyone tweets, and twits and texts, and all that, but actually we’ve all got voices, and it is awfully nice to hear them and, if you can, understand what people are saying.
“We have this wonderful language and we don’t appreciate it.”
I often have difficulty reading texts and emails from my 20 year old sister. Perhaps she’s showing me the future and I have to adapt rather than vice versa?