[NTLK] OT - Do you speak BBC English?

From: <mkow1234_at_aol.com>
Date: Sun Sep 02 2007 - 10:55:14 EDT

Hello All in Newtondom!

This is a great "OT" issue for discussion -- one of the best ever, in my opinion.
I feel my own background in appreciating and understanding the English language is rather unique:

My grandfather came from Poland, and he learned to speak Engish in one of Henry Ford's Detroit factories, in a special program for immigrants. Even when I knew him many years later, he sounded like a gangster of the 1920's, punctuating his speech with "See?" and "Like nobody's business." It seems so strange that from such humble origins, he was able to help my father and my uncle financially and spiritually through their university training (both have PhDs in their respective areas).

My father served as Chair of
the English Department at a small, urban Catholic University. I recall
receiving grammar lessons at odd intervals -- usually as we conversed
at the dinner table. We were encouraged to read as much as possible, and
Dad had a fairly impressive "library" of several thousand volumes (his
office was in our basement, adjacent to the laundry room and the

Taking after Dad, I have taught in public schools and at the University. As a technical writer, I help teach corporate entities how to tone down their marketing hyperbole and explain consumer business information with clarity. I also try to? encourage ethical and pragmatic business practices (I'd say I've only met limited success with the latter).
The "Chicago Manual of Style" is my friend...

All that being said, I feel I have a trained eye for spotting "glitches" in spoken or written word. I can merely glance at a newspaper front page and spot a half-dozen "grammatical anomalies". Watching television, I'll catch mistakes in the text prompter at the bottom of the screen. Driving in the car, I'll hear something spoken on the radio and I'll say to myself, "What the h-ll?. Why did they say it like THAT?! I think it would have been far more effective if they would have said ------------ instead." I read and hear terrible marketing campaigns in the Media and scratch my head (and usually swear a bit as well) at Corporate America's hubris and stupidity.

When I hear news stories from the BBC, I get pretty riled up. I catch news announcers pronouncing Kofi Annan's name incorrectly, mispronouncing "Afghanistan", "schedule", etc. And who the h-ll uses the term, "nil"?!!!
I suspect that half of the BBC announcers I hear are "outsourced" personnel in Third-World countries, reading off of a teleprompter. It sounds like they hired a bunch of d@mn cricket match announcers!? I think the BBC actually does
a disservice to British English by forcing such rigid standards. The
result seems stiff and contrived, and this affects my ability to listen
to information objectively.

What I love about the English language is that, despite numerous regional dialects, millions of people around the globe can readily communicate with each other.

Maybe it's just me...???? ;O)

Best regards,

Matt K.
Detroit, Michigan USA

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Received on Sun Sep 2 10:55:17 2007

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