Posts Tagged ‘Language’

The New Vernacular

August 10, 2012

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Oct 26, 1936

THE NEW VERNACULAR

By DOUGLAS MALLOCH

People often say to me,
Members of the laity,
They suppose a poet knows
A life of little gaiety,
But it’s not laborious,
Really rather glorious,
For the times are full of rimes,
Many meritorious.

We have inebriety,
And the planned society,
Processing, and ev’rything
In a wide variety,
Such a multiplicity,
Ev’ry eccentricity,
Brand new words in droves and herds
To jingle with felicity.

Yes, we live in wordy days
In these hurdy-gurdy days,
Richer rimes than in the times
We wrote of spring and birdie days.
Radicals oracular,
Senators spectacular,
Took our dough, and more we owe —
But, gosh, what a vernacular!

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Feb 18, 1936

That is Naught

April 25, 2012

Image from Diane Waring Presents! Education That’s Relational

O, why shall we say for catched, caught,
As grammarians some say we ought?
Let us see
How things be
When this kind of teaching is taught:

The egg isn’t hatched, it is haught;
My breeches aren’t patched, they are paught;
John and James are not matched, they are maught;
My door isn’t latched, it is laught;
The pie wasn’t snatched, it was snaught;
The cat never scratched, but she scraught;
The roof wasn’t thatched, it was thaught.

If English must this way be wraught,
It soon will be natched — that is, naught.

The Sydney Mail (Sidney, Australia) Jul 8, 1882

Present Imperative and Talking Sense

December 8, 2010

He Was Particular.

Conductor (to man smoking) This is not a smoking car, sir; I shall have to ask you to put the cigar out, if you intend to remain here.

Smoker — “Shall have to ask me, eh; shall, future tense. All right, conductor, when you get ready to ask, I’ll be ready to comply.

Conductor (getting impatient) I shall have to insist, sir.

Smoker — “Shall” again; more futurity. Puff, puff.

Conductor — Remove that cigar instantly, sir, or go into the smoking car.

Smoker — That’s better. Present Imperative. Out of the window goes the cigar. Please be more careful next time, conductor, in using the English language. I am a trifle particular on points of grammar. — Yankee Blade.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1889

Education.

A Detroit father has undertaken a little educational venture with his own children, and he is trying to make them give up slang, the use of ambiguous terms of speech, and other peculiarities affected by the youth of the day. Yesterday he asked his 14-year-old daughter where a certain book was,

“I haven’t an idea, papa!” answered the young lady.

“I didn’t ask you for ideas,” said the father sternly, “just answer that question. Where is that book?”

“On the top shelf in the book case,” recited the girl, like a parrot.

“Can you reach it?”

“Yes, sir.”

There was a long silence, the father waiting impatiently for the book. At last he asked:

“Nell, why don’t you bring it?”

“Bring what, sir?”

“The book I wanted.”

“You did not say you wanted me to get it,” said the daughter in a demure voice, “you asked me if I could reach it.”

“Nellie,” said the father, as a smile made his mustache tremble, “get that book like a good girl and bring it here to me.”

“Now you’re talking sense, pop; I’ll have the book in a jiffy,” and she whisked off after it, while the father sighed over the degeneracy of the times. — Detroit Free Press.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Dec 1, 1889