Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I left the book on the cooker and a bag lady took it

Bag man seems to be internationally known and not just an Australian expression. From Wikpedia, A bagman is a person designated to collect or distribute illicitly gained money.

Yet how is a bag lady not the same thing? A bag lady is a destitute old woman who sleeps on the streets and carries her belongings around in bags. Nothing like a bag man. So queer.

Also queer to me is the odd pronunciation by some British people of words like book and cooker, the latter being what we call a stove or oven or hotplates. I am trying to think of something that rhymes with the way some British people pronounce the words, but I cannot. I can't even do it in writing.  It is an alien vowel sound to Australians and probably to many English people too. It is not quite right but try bewk or cewker. Weird!

Years ago when I used to go on to gay chat lines I came across someone who I enjoyed chatting with and in a moment of indiscretion I divulged to him where I worked. Ah, he said, you would know A****. A is a tall Spanish looking Filipino who seemed to be gay to me. I asked the guy who I was chatting to, is A gay? Oh yes, he said. A is definitely gay. He said then with such confidence that I know A....well, no need to go there. I should have gone on to ask him how A being gay sits with his strong Catholic beliefs. A used to send us Christmas cards, always with a God Bless at the end.

A is now married with two young daughters. He still looks quite good as he enters his forties, but he does not change his fabulous hair weekly as he used to and now it is of a 'sensible' style. Not long after it was confirmed to me that A was gay, A's  photo popped up in the gay press out at a venue.

To more recent times, at work A was asking advice from a non first language English speaker about a word. Andrew Big Ears immediately tuned in. The advice A received was kind of wrong without being wrong.

I wish I could remember what the word was now, but I cannot and later I corrected A. I said something like, while it is not wrong, this is the better, shorter and more concise word to use.

I went on to tell A about my pet hate of people saying orientated. Orientated is quite correct, but why not just say oriented. For mine, they are the same and I don't know why you would use a longer word when a shorter one will do. While I know I am right, perhaps you can explain to me why orientated might be a better word to use than oriented?

God help those who are not English native speakers and weren't brought up with the language. Even I don't understand my own language, and one can only resort at times to saying, no rules, that is just how it is.

21 comments:

  1. Interesting post but some people are stupid and intolerant.

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  2. I know. It is definitely weird. There are even rules for the order we put descriptive adjectives. I can't remember all of it at the moment but 'little green man' and 'green little man' should give you an idea.

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    1. EC, that to me is a case of the alternative being correct but the first sounds better.

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    2. The first is better. And I think is right.

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  3. plenty of gay people married to another sex and with children. I have no issue with any sexuality which involves care and affection.
    as for the english language I despair.
    and now we have a President who is completely inarticulate whose pronouncements are published everywhere in all their sodden ignorance.

    Did you see this week's lovely W class tram cartoon by Eric Lobbecke where the roof was a sardine can lid peeled back?
    wishing you warm

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    1. Ann, you aren't talking about Macron again are you? Trumpet must be smart in some way. We have yet to see it. I missed that cartoon, but I experience it myself.

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  4. When I was studying Turkish and French I found those languages have their own oddities, just as English does. I find the differences in UK English and American English entertaining, like "put it in the boot" or "where is your torch", etc.

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    1. TH, the difference being that we know they use different words and we know what they are. The citizens of the US so often don't know there are alternatives.

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  5. I confess I'm guilty of saying orientated Andrew, it just seems to roll off the tongue easier for moi.. can't explain why ☺ as for cook and book I know exactly what you mean, I have a Scottish friend who pronounces them as you say, more of a 'u' than a 'o' 😀

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    1. Grace, that is interesting that some Scottish people pronounce the sound like that. I haven't heard that. I hope now I have oriented you to catch yourself when you say orientated. :-)

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  6. Orientated irritates me because I always think it is wrong and people are just trying to be pretentious, I say oriented, so I checked my dictionary and thesaurus and neither word is in there.
    As for book and cooker, if you say the words to rhyme with boo,(like Caspar the ghost), you get a better idea of how some English people say them.

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    1. River, interesting about the dictionary and thesaurus. I only checked online and the word is certainly there. Good point, yes boo.

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  7. I'm an American. :) I would imagine we must sound so incredibly weird to everyone else. We have so much slang. I watch a lot of UK shows just for all of the accents. :)

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    1. VA, not at all, not Australians anyway. For good or bad, American English is becoming the language of the world. It is only a few years ago that I found out through writing about different computer keyboards in the world that we here use an American keyboard. Many don't elsewhere.

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  8. My Irish Mom pronounces book and cooker in exactly the way you are trying to explain. Also bus came out the same way. I agree, almost impossible.

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    1. Jackie, far be it for me to suggest that your money swore, but there is another word in Irish containing the letter u that comes out with a oo sound.

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  9. I've never even thought about keyboards Andrew! Who knew they were different??

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    1. VA, to my surprise I did as soon as I visited England for the first time. The basics are the same but the extras are often in different locations. http://highriser.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/keybaord-puzzlement.html

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  10. This morning on Radio National some expert on energy was discussing how the Electricity companies price gouge concealing their activity in difficult to decipher information.

    It is a pity the expert didn't heed his own advice. He referred multiple times to 'conditionality' regarding prices. I don't know why he couldn't just say 'conditions'.

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    1. Ugly word, Victor. I don't know about other companies, but how electric bill is quite clear to me.

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