What’s he wittering on about now I hear you say? (metaphorically).
I’d best explain; regular readers are aware that this blog frequently drifts far from the home turf of freight and shipping matters and allows deviation through the back alleys and byways of other diverse subjects.
That said, there is often a logistically based starting point, often not revealed to you, dear reader, being only in the author’s head, which starts the whole composition process off.
The starting blocks for this particular rant were, as so often the case, forged after a conversation In the Handy Shipping Guide UK office, once more a discussion centred around the rapidly declining standards of spoken and written English from many with whom we mere scribblers come into contact, job applicants, delivery drivers etc.
Now I should firstly make this clear, this is not a complaint about the way language naturally evolves, if it was socially unacceptable, nay illegal, to change and vary the way we speak, write and punctuate (to some extent) then your Captain, for one, would currently be serving a long stretch at HM’s pleasure (God bless her).
No, I’m not speaking (or writing actually) about the natural alteration of language over time, I might scream at the spell checker on occasion when the lunar eclipse causes it to switch back to default ruddy English (U.S.) from the Queens own perfect script, that time when then moon causes wives to hurl plates at innocent menfolk and whales beach themselves to the mournful howls of werewolves.
Although I still insist colour should always carry a “u” our cousins across the pond still speak and write consistently in their own way and I shout “vive la difference” (if you’re American that means I’m OK with it). After all it is in fact we English who cannot spell aluminium (see), dropping the second “ I” puts it closer to the original name after all.
The objection I, and many, many others have, is that our language is being corrupted by people who simply fail to grasp that it has reached its present form from necessity.
No matter how the tabloid crud dumb it down it is essential to retain a wide variety of expression, to attempt to avoid clichés, to use language that says precisely what one means.
“Well what can we do good Captain?” I hear you ask (that may be a voice in my head again)
“How can we possibly save society from the social leprosy, words falling from our vocabulary like rotten fingers?”
Relax Oh Reader, we have the answer.
And that is where the technology comes in.
Mobile telephone’s, or as our US cousins would say (so much more succinctly) cellphones (see that’s good verbal evolution, despite the fact my spellchecker is painting the word cherry red – obviously securely good old English(U.K. - As She Should Be Spoken mode).
Let’s face it, people bastardise our language because they’re lazy.
Text speak, what bloody rubbish!
Y dnt U C tht Kds R wld abt Txtin. Fstr thy cn spk bttr fr thm.
If we wish to save our language then technology and education provide the simplest of answers.
Like the cigarettes producers of my youth, mobile phone manufacturers want the young to be introduced to their product as soon as the umbilical is severed, and equally, as parents wanted to prevent those of us who thought it cool to puff on a Woodbine, so parents today want to ensure little Jimmy or Louise don’t end up with brain cancer at 31 because their brats are all cell phone mad.
Now nobody has proved there is any link between phones and cancer, but, like MMR vaccinations no sane mum or dad is going to expose their kids to any threat, no matter how long the odds.
OK, OK, that’s a fake produced by a Blue tooth headset company to scare you into buying their gear but I bet it got you thinking?
Which brings me back to my spell checker. Curse or blessing?
Well with little ingenuity we can turn this into a win, win, win, win situation.
How? I (imagine) I hear you ask.
Nokia, Motorola whoever ring up Bill Gates and arrange a meet.
Nokia tell Bill they are going to produce a range of funky cell phones that come with games etc. only they aren’t phones, yes, you can ring maybe one number plus the emergency services but apart from these all calls are barred.
Bill gets to load a programme of his spellchecker on the phone, one countries language, no frills.
Well just one, the phone has a QWERTY (blimey that was easy to type) keyboard and (here’s the kicker) if there are any spelling, punctuation etc. mistakes in a message then the text can’t be sent.
Nokia flog a cheap introductory phone to kids, Microsoft supply language software, Ma and Pa get an easy to choose, relatively cheap present for Christmas, Birthday etc. that little ‘un actually wants and youngster get to text all his mates for free (didn’t I mention the cheap rate package that dad signed when he bought it).
Can you copyright an idea?
Somebody let me know please.
Going back to the Woodbine theory just like fags (American citizens adjust spell checker to English (U.K. Gods own language) please) the make of phone the child starts with might well prove to be his brand for life.
Marketing agents can call the captain at the Handy Shipping Guide UK office.
Live Long and Prosper.