My youngest has just been discussing her “literacy home learning” with me. My initial thought of “what happened to the simple phrase “English homework” was run roughshod over by the realisation that I had not one clue what it was she was asking me. As I had, not only, no idea what a “fronted adverbial” was, I also had no clue what to do with one either so, alas, was of zero help. Of course, like any responsible parent, I excused myself and googled it whilst in the loo so as to keep up the facade that I was indeed worldly and wise. I then returned to the scene and continued my epic impression of an adult.
So many words. I, personally, thought there enough of them and yet they keep coming. I’m not suggesting for one moment that my daughter’s teachers are making these words and phrases up, but it surely muddies the waters for the children to have to learn phrases to describe things that, once upon a time weren’t described in this way, they just existed (unless, of course, you are an Oxbridge English Language undergrad where these words are surely necessary to make to sound cleverer that everyone else – otherwise what is the point?). “Onamatapia”, as a classic example, is not a word I used at school but they sure as heck do now. As to why it’s necessary to have a word that describes a word that describes a sound, I’m not sure.
Now I love words, clearly, but it’s a good job the Oxford English is now on-line as the darned hard copy would need to come with “heavy lifting” instructions and PPE kit; last years’ edition had over 400 “new words” added but I fell asleep reading them. I have many children (actually just 5, I’m not Angelina Jolie) and how the world has changed over the years is unfathomable but, I swear, this world, the one my youngest are growing up in, is a place of such epic weirdness that I simply cannot fathom which bits to disregard as nonsensical rubbish and what to take precious time to absorb.
I’m blaming it all on the internet. The humble search engine is an amazing vehicle of discovery but, equally, a wretched curse. Things fly around with such a dizzying speed that its hard to keep up. All it takes is some “instadoofus” playing fast and loose with the English language and, all of a sudden, every youth in the uk is speaking in tongues.
When texting became a daily form of communication, I would hover over my son’s Nokia 3310, aghast at his occasional but flagrant misuse of abbreviations. Abbreviations that were not in official, authorised usage were an abomination to me even then but now it seems the youths of today abbreviate everything, like some sort of anti parenting Enigma Code; thus, if you see a lot of letters that don’t seem to make sense, it is not bad spelling (probably), it’s just the person under surveillance is unwilling to share their thoughts with anyone under the age of 30. What with the incessant use of the word “like” peppering every sentence and “wait! whaat?” being thrown up at any opportunity, it’s all I can do to not correct the lingual inadequacies of total strangers as they pass by – there surely has to a breech of an overuse policy somewhere.
That’s not all though, they have a whole new dialect, which you will only hear if you chance upon a conversation between and betwixt themselves. I discovered this when my eldest daughter read out a message to me that she had angrily written to another pre 30 year old. I was sktechy on the details on what had occured as I have never heard my daughter go all gangsta like that; It’s quite a peculiar thing to hear, like discovering your child can secretly speak fluent Greek; it made little sense to me but, to her? Duh!
So, if someone starts throwing shade on your fam, you are hundo p entitled to clap back. You’re not being salty.