Here in Great Britain we produced Shakespeare, Dickens, and Rowling.
We are rightfully proud of our command of the English language, and are basically in charge of it – only lending it to countries like America on the understanding that they return it, unharmed, when they’re done.
And yet they insist on harming it. It’s very rude. Luckily for them, because we’re British, we’re far too polite and uncomfortable with confrontation to call them on it.
So away they go, willy-nilly, making up their own versions of what are already perfectly serviceable words and phrases.
There’s the boring and obvious stuff like sidewalk (pavement), eggplant (aubergine), and fanny pack (bum-bag). Then there are the phrases that pop up, like today, forty-one years into my life on this planet, which have somehow managed to elude me.
Today’s Daily Post topic, for example: Rube. What the hell is a rube?
I had to Google it (well, I tell a lie, I Bing’ed it. I’m a rebel).
If I’m checking the right websites a rube seems to be what we here in the UK might call a country-bumpkin. An unsophisticated, inexperienced, country dweller. From out in the sticks. Ignorant of the ways of the modern world.
And here’s the problem.
Why, when you’ve got a tremendously sing-song description like “country-bumpkin” would you swap it for rube?
Why would the luscious continental lilt of “aubergine” become the stiff and functional eggplant?
And as for the fanny-pack/bum-bag scenario – bum might just be the single funniest word in the English language. Ask my two boys (aged seven and four). They can barely construct a sentence without slipping a bum in there.
Why would you not?
And so, on behalf of Great Britain, I respectfully ask you, America, for our language back. If you can’t use it properly then don’t use it at all.
Unless you intend to stand up for yourselves and make this a confrontation. In which case carry on…really, it’s fine…no, we insist.