15 March 2010

Hitchen on Language

The beauty of the English language is that it is dynamic. Unlike the mindsets of those devoted to tabloid newspapers, Lady English is flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances, social and political environments and attitudes.

However, sometimes Lady English is a bit like a dodgy bouncer at a nightclub, who for a fistful of dollars allows the less desirable elements to slip in and take over the dance floor. Take the word, "My" for instance.

"My" is a good word - one of the first words children learn to speak, along with "mummy" "daddy" and "whatever". Unfortunately it seems that the marketing gurus and branding experts who view words and phrases as bits of plasticine that can be mangled out of shape, have decided that every service has to have the word "My" in front of it.

I am not sure if this is a global phenomenon or if it is confined to Australia, but I use several companies offering a wide range of "My" this, that and the other. Have any of the Wunder-Brats who are paid huge salaries to come up with something that gives their employer the competitive edge, ever stopped to think that the word "My" is so over-used it is as boring as watching a brass band on on a promenade on a wet Sunday afternoon. It's like being back in infants school with everything labeled "my". I want to feel like I am using a premium financial service, not a pair of corporate Y fronts with my name sewn on the back. And yes - I did use the word "my" just then!

"My" is the "Must Have" which is another marketing tool that gets up my nose. Does anyone really read, watch or listen to an advert, hear the phrase, "Must have" and say 'Hey up Gladys, chap on radio says that's a must have" and dash out to buy the product? Perhaps they do if the ad uses that other tired old phrase, "Get it now" because it's wait for it - "right here, right now".

Sometimes I get the feeling that Lady English, as dynamic as she may be, is sometimes in the grip of a syndrome known amongst the language fashionistas as - de-development. If I ever have to say that word, I hope I do so when I have my teeth in.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved