Sunday, 19 September 2010

Ironmongers and Snuff Chandlers And Our Language


Beyond any naval or military conquest or any adventure in the nature of trade, probably the greatest enduring, human impact in the world is the spread of the English language, providing a ready lingua franca, especially between speakers of different minority languages and it has been moulded and has evolved with differences from the original in all the countries around the world where it has been adopted as the main or the official language. All of this is to be welcomed. But I do not understand why it is that a British journalist, writing in a British Sunday paper today needs to refer to a 'hardware store' when he was brought up to say 'ironmongers'. Next we will be putting our trash cans out for the garbage men on the sidewalks or visiting the snuff store instead of the snuff chandlers and the nation's school masters will be putting on their sport coats to teach math.

Please! Let us keep our own version of the original language alive and well and let it not be overwhelmed by the slight variation current in America (or anywhere else, for all that). God bless Uncle Sam! but it was he who wanted independence and he got it. British independence and identity are important too. In this age of increasing commercial 'globalization' and movement of people, they must be jealously guarded.

5 comments:

  1. How'bout 'sanitation engineer'?

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  2. Presumably, this is a bog cleaner? You are quite right, shredder: there is also all the increasing jargon and euphemism as well, although I think that this is across the board and not just from America.

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  3. My son sang at the Ironmongers church beside their hall in the city of london a few years back; Oh for the wings of a dove. He was sponsered by the Girdlers though. He sang there too; on the balcony accompanied on solo piano. Remember those great grand balconies which were ripped out of so many churches by the Victorians. The church next to the Ironmongers hall was and is called St Vedast; it has the most wonderful courtyard garden. There is absolute peace there at any time of the day right in the middle of things. Agatha Christie has a connection to the church too. Her second husband was an archeaologist and she said that it was a fine thing because the older and the more decrepit she got the more interested in her he became. What a thing. What a fine thing the world is sometimes. Oh all those livery companies; what a laugh. The best thing I ever heard him sing was Schubert; My God it nearly rent me; it was so achingly beautiful; he sang it at school (big school) too when he was applying and by God it worked. I agree about the English usage I guess; but heck what do I know.

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  4. Ah yes it was the Goldsmiths not the ironmongers; the ironmongers is of course set amidst the walkways of the Barbican. Yes I got it mixed up. Where's your blog today?

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  5. Thanks for the extra comments. I have not had any time today but I hope to be back to normal tomorrow.

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