Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Hatfields and McCoys: A Study in Language

The History Channel fired up the TV sets with their show Hatfields & McCoys. According to ABC News it set a record of nearly 14 million viewers. That's unprecedented for a miniseries released on a cable channel.

While watching this ground breaking miniseries, One of the things that gave me pleasure was the peculiar and intricate diction espoused by each of the characters. Very similar to the dialogue between characters in the Charles Portis novel True Grit and the film by the same name. From what I hear tell it's pretty accurate for that time period. They show a great deal of respect for the English language enunciating everything and hardly ever using contractions.

Our language has come a long way since then with phrases like, "off da chain" and "pencil you into my Blackberry." We've lost respect for the the beauty of our language. It all reeks of laziness and sarcasm. Back then, things were different. Words were special, people took time to express there thoughts appropriately. In the words of Treebeard the famous Ent from Lord of the Rings, "You must understand, young Hobbit, it takes a long time to say anything in Old Entish. And we never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say."

As a result of this problem I see in today's language, I have come up with a solution. I have a provided a list of words and phrases I would like to see find there way back into popular use along with a counterpart word or phrase I would like to see exit popular use. (Feel free to add your own substitutions in the comments section, but try to make them family friendly.)

  • Hornswoggle should replace Tricka Skeezer
  • Blessed baby Jesus should replace Awesome
  • Half-wit should replace retarded
  • Damnation should replace Damn it
  • Recollect should replace 'member
  • Quarrelsome should replace Nagging Nancy
  • Miscreant should replace Moron
  • Paps should replace Baby Daddy
  • Consort with whores should replace Stud Muffin
  • Doing the trick should replace... well... a whole host of naughtiness.

 As you consider the development of our dialogue over the generations, I will leave you with one last thought. One of the oldest words in the English language is "fart".

(To add your own words and or replacement words just click on the comment button.)

1 comment:

  1. Why am I hearing Yosemite Sam as I read this? Great post, PB!