Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Oh My English Again

No, this won't be a rant on how young Chinese Malaysians are deliberately eschewing the English language - and even our national language - for whatever misplaced reasons in their naive lil minds. That impassioned diatribe will come along one fine day when I'm finally rational enough to type one out somewhat legibly.

Mostly this has to do with our Ambiguous Aaron - and his dubious command of the language. One would assume that having English as his first language - mayhap his one and only - would automatically place him in the hallowed ranks of prodigious English scholars! Failing that, at least he would have a somewhat passable standard of English.

At least that's what one would like to think.

Thus far, I've let more than a few of his grammatical faux pas slip by without a word since :-

a) I'm not your fecking teacher and I heartily dislike faultfinders
b) I'm not that great myself so why am I pointing out mistakes
c) It must have been a slip of the tongue

Usually I just shrug dismissively and think, surely no one gets that wrong?

Did he just diss the grammar of Shakespeare?

But then came the day when he then decided to diss the Bard.

Yes, William Shakespeare himself. Though I'm far from ye high-and-mighty literary connoiseur, do not ever, ever critique the grammar of Shakespeare in front of someone who spent part of his high school years going through the various tragedies and comedies. Atrocious, Aaron called it, which obviously put me into a flame.

Don't diss the Bard.

Then lo and behold, Aaron spelt the word chilli wrong.

Aghast. Me. In our food-obsessed nation that's about as simple and elementary a word as apple. Before I could falteringly ask for a repeat, he blithely spells it wrong again. Twice in a row, surely it's not a typo, says I. Ever the skeptic, I immediately question myself. Perhaps I've been wrong my entire life and it's actually spelt that way? To the dictionary I promptly ran to check the word out only to prove myself right.

Dammit, he made me doubt myself!

Perhaps in the upper reaches of the Ganges? In some obscure, forgotten corner of South America? Again I desperately search across the length and breadth of Google to find more information only to reaffirm my earlier understanding of the word. Nope, still spelled chilli. Yep, even in Mexico. Well sometimes it's chili.

But never chilly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I despair when reading USian-written novels of the single 'ell' spelling of so many words. Eg, traveled. Only in America. I wonder whether this is laziness or lack of education.
And DON'T get me started on "gotten" - the laziest, misused, supposed-verb in the USian dialect of English..