Laziness Is Killing the Magnificent English Language

DON’T you just hate the language of da yoof?

Rex Harrison Julie Andrews
Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins with Julie Andrews as Eliza in stage version of My Fair Lady

If there’s one thing guaranteed to turn me into a crusty old bore, a veritable Henry Higgins of a stickler for the rules of grammar, for clarity of diction, for correct pronunciation (which isn’t, please note, pronounced “pronounciation”), it’s hearing the younger generation utterly mangling our magnificent language.

It’s the greatest, most expressive and nuanced in the world yet the way they abuse it, it might just as well be Albanian.

My particular bugbear – actually don’t get me started, I’ve got loads – is this thing they do where they pronounce “worry” so it rhymes with “lorry”. And we’re not just talking illiterates here. I’ve even heard it spoken that way by kids who have been to the poshest private schools.

Pretty soon those of us who pronounce it the old, correct way – so it rhymes with “slurry” – will seem as fuddy-duddy and antediluvian as those affected, old-school Londoners who persist in talking about “Cuvvent Garden”.

The only evidence that it was ever pronounced differently will be when they play in the oldies slot on the radio that song “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

Well I for one am not happy. Basically, according to the report “Sounds of the Future” by linguistics experts at the University of York, what we think of as the Queen’s English is going to be pretty much dead within 50 years. Not even King William – and certainly not George, Prince of Wales – will speak it. Instead the already hateful common language known as Estuary English will have mutated into something even ghastlier called multicultural London English (MLE).

How will it sound? You can pretty much guess without needing academics to tell you.

Read the rest in the Express.

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