Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Hate That Word

That word would be but. It's a negative sort of word, and when it's heard it is usually in a way that brings no pleasure to the hearer. It's heard often in the case of gun ownership: even our beloved President has famously said that he supports the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms), but... with a whole list that follows of the ways in which he doesn't support it.

But showed up in the news again this morning, in a news article from UK:

'Ya cor do that!’ Anger over 'snobbish’ school letter BANNING children from using 'damaging' Black Country dialect.

Angry parents have complained after their children's school banned pupils from talking or writing in their 'damaging' Black Country dialect.

Staff at the West Midlands primary have drawn up a list of ten offending phrases after introducing the 'zero tolerance' policy against the use of local words.

The controversial ruling was announced in a letter to parents claiming the harsh crackdown would 'get children out of the habit' of speaking the way their parents do.

The ban comes two months after a study was published claiming that accents from the Birmingham area make people seem less intelligent and untrustworthy.

Outlawed phrases now include 'I cor do that' instead of 'I can't do that,' and 'It wor me' instead of 'it wasn't me'.

The letter, which was posted to parents last Thursday, said: 'Recently we asked each class teacher to write a list of the top ten most damaging phrases used by children in the classroom.

'We are introducing a ‘zero tolerance' in the classroom to get children out of the habit of using the phrases on the list.

'We want the children in our school to have the best start possible: Understanding when it is and is not acceptable to use slang and colloquial language.

'We value the local dialect but are encouraging children to learn the skill of turning it on and off in different situations.'
Here's the entire list:

1. 'They was' instead of 'they were.'
2. 'I cor do that' instead of 'I can't do that.'
3. 'Ya' instead of 'you.'
4. 'Gonna' instead of 'going to.'
5. 'Woz' instead of 'was.'
6. 'I day' instead of 'I didn't.'
7. 'I ain't' instead of 'I haven't.'
8. 'Somefink' instead of 'something.'
9. 'It wor me' instead of 'it wasn't me.'
10. 'Ay?' instead of 'pardon?'

If you look at that list, you'll notice many of them are in common use by Americans. Now I commend the school for wishing to teach their children proper English, but...

It's nanny-statism. A child should be taught by parents the appropriate time for using local dialect and slang. That the school believes it necessary to impose this by fiat says that they don't believe parents are capable of instilling this lesson. And, if you haven't learned it by the time you get into the job market, you very quickly learn there that you either fix it or you don't get employed, at least not in genteel jobs, anyway. If you wish to have a career as a plumber or a dishwasher it's probably not that big a deal.

And I really hate "zero tolerance" policies. They're unnecessarily Draconian, and they remove common sense entirely from any equation in which they appear.

No comments: