Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sorry It Has WHAT?


As a former English teacher, and native Anglophone, I am perpetually annoyed at the improper use of the language.


Let's take much vs. many.

I have MUCH time and I have MANY minutes.
NOT I have many time and much minutes.



IRREGARDLESS.
It's just regardless people.

Supposibly ---It's so wrong I am not even sure how it exists.

And the DOUBLE NEGATIVE.

If you don't have no time---that means you 
HAVE 
TIME!

When someone speaks like this I cringe, but I don't actually SAY anything because it's not really hurting anyone.

But there was one exception......  

A couple of summers ago, my local Library was hosting a family reading session that explored the theme of "under the ocean".  



I live in a very multicultural community, and the staff reflected in both the customers and staff of the Library.  I don't go often, but on a trek home from the mall, Youngest and I swung through to take advantage of the air conditioning.  The story time room you see was in the basement.  The nice, cold, basement.

The lady presenting the event introduced herself a Svetlana, her Eastern European accent evident in her English.

"He-lo every-won!  Pleese, we will stat wit a game to ghess the sea creature. I vill gif you clus and you ghess."

I figured it was a good time for me to scroll through my email on my phone while he sat, heard a story and got cooled off before we hit the road.  

Svetlana began her clues, the kids started shouting guesses and I started to tune them out and zone in on my screen.  Much clapping ensued when each sea creature described was guessed, and I stepped to the back of the room, grabbed a chair and sat.

By the forth e-mail, I was aware of the noise, or more accurately, the absence of it. The room had gone still. I could hear Svetlana talking animatedly at the front of the room, and tried to tune into what she was saying.

You know! I know you do!
It is soft, and very long and wave around in the water.
It does not have fins but some people do eat them!

I was confused.  How hard could this be?  

And then I heard it....

It has 8 long TESTICLES and waves them around in like this!  She wiggled her arms like seaweed over her head.

These TESTICLES can be as long as a football field! 

More waving.

I scanned the room.  

Looks of horror and confusion.  

"Come on keeds, you know this."  Still more waving.

"Their TESTICLES can grab you and...."

Parents started to raise their hands, and I suspected a few cell phones sat at 9-1- at this point.

I shot from my seat.  

TENTACLES! 

Now I was waving MY arms.

Her eyes found me at the back of the room, arms waving.

"I'm sorry, were you guessing?"

I whipped my arms behind my back. 

TENTACLES! 
TENTACLES! 
 I think you mean TEN-TA-CLES!

"What was I saying?"

"Not TENTACLES, that's for sure,"I  heard a mother mumble a few rows ahead of me.



Svetlana laughed it off, blaming the English language for its "quirky intricacies" and story time continued. Most of the kids remained oblivious.

As I exited, Svetlana stopped me.

"Tank you for correcting my English.  It is not my first language.  I never knew this word in English before and so now I do."

(Aaaaaannnnd now so does a lot of small children who are probably having very interesting conversations with their parents.)

When I asked Youngest what he thought of our Library time, he replied with:
How do you make an octopus laugh?
I dunno honey, how?
You give him TEN TICKLES!
Oh the quirky intricacies of the English language.....










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