Thursday, May 23, 2013

Annual Grammar Rant

Every so often my frustration with people's butchering of the English languauge pushes me over the edge and I take to the blog to vent.
I do not have perfect diction, or a superior command of English, but I do know the difference between correct and incorrect pronunciation of words like:

GOVERNMENT: The surprise being that it has two "N's" and should be pronounced goverNment because governments govern. They don't "gover" as in goverment. This is repeated so widely and incessantly that it's really no wonder people don't know how to say it. I hear it mispronounced every day by newsreaders, politicians, radio announcers etc . I even saw a car with signwriting saying "such and such has goverment funding" recently.
BUT, not content with this butchery, Mr Abbott, our Prime Minister in waiting insists on calling it the "Guvment" leaving out the middle syllable entirely. Between that and his neanderthal policies on the NBN he has no chance of gaining my vote but that's another story. (Sadly, he doesn't appear to need it!)

Talking of leaving out syllables, why do people insist on saying "Probly" when the word is PROB-AB-LY?

SIM-I-LAR-LY I get PAR-TIC-U-LAR-LY annoyed when people REG-U-LAR-LY substititue these words with
"Simarly", "Particuly" and "Reguly".

Now I'm on a roll I have to say IT DRIVES ME MAD  when people say "Austraya" when referring to our nation. The word is AUSTRALIA. It has an "L" in it. Trust me, I've checked. Not that you'd know it if you listen to the vast number of people who leave the "L" out. Again Mr Abbott is a regular offender.

While we're on the subject of missing "L"s, renowned football commentator Bruce McAveney is a chief culprit in another common mispronunciation. The word I know as BRILLIANT is bastardised repeatedly to  
"Bri-yant". No "L"s to be heard. 

Seeing as we're talking about football commentators, another pet peeve is the over-use of the adjective UNBELIEVABLE to describe everything and everyone who does anything remotely impressive. It is the adjective of choice, thus losing both its impact and its meaning.
Consider this selection of alternatives, all or any of which could be used instead of UNBELIEVABLE:
Superb, fantastic, extraordinary, impressive, tremendous, stunning, amazing, terrific, super, awesome, fabulous and excellent. There is no shortage of superlatives to choose from but they remain largely ignored.
I know football commentators aren't renowned for their command of the English language but considering they are paid to talk and we footy fans are thus subject to listening to them, surely they ought to master these basics and correct their annoying mistakes?

A couple more that I hear frequently and which I think have their origins in Britain are MED-I-CINE and PO-LICE but are often mispronounced as "Medcine" and "Plice"with the middle syllables abandoned.

I'm sure there are more, you've probably thought of some yourself, but having vented my frustration I'll put my red pen back in its holster and say good night.


Peter said...

The alternative to voting for Tony Abbott is more govering by Julia Gillard, swallow your grammatical pride and vote sensibly.

Anonymous said...

Also, Marcus, you may notice the use of "ness" when people do not know abstract nouns, prefixes or suffixes - eg uncomfortableness, poorness, braveness.
It causes me moments of absolute