Wednesday, September 10, 2014

THE ELUSIVE LANGUAGE LIAISONS

The card rack I had been searching through, took up most of the length of the shop.  There I was looking through cards at dark end of the rack where the more subdued message cards were displayed, when I noticed under the section titled 'Get Well",  a white card with lots of fine silver design on the front.  In the relative gloom, the sparkle of silver had caught my eye. Honestly, I could not believe what I was seeing.  

First, why send or take a card to someone in hospital, which in bold silvery lettering tells the patient where s/he is, 'You Are In Hospital'.

But in fact what it actually proclaimed on this card and every card like it, very loudly and in very thick silver letters, was:

YOUR IN HOSPITAL.

(Writer's licence I have used a shade of pink)

My coughing fit drew out signs of life in the shop. The shop owner came out of a room, apologising for not noticing me. More like, she hadn't seen me in the gloom. I showed her one of the offending cards at the same time opining on the state of affairs on the written standards of  the English language. 

"What....." she looked really puzzled. It was obvious she could not see what I did.

I spoke the written words...shopkeeper was still no wiser.  
Spelling, "Y-O-U-R in hospital",  is wrong.  I explained how it should have been written and printed.  In shopkeeper's  eyes a realisation visibly dawned.  "It's just awful", I added. 

"There are a lot of awful things in the world", shopkeeper said.  I agreed, differentiating however, that linguistically, in my own language, this was another one of them.  

I very much doubt I was her favourite customer of the day; not that I was much bothered,

6 comments:

Vincent said...

Alas! we must learn to avert our eyes with imperceptible disdain, lest we subside into despair, for there are awful things going on in the world, even as new shoots of hope spring up from the rot of all its yesterdays.

ZACL said...

Vincent, you are so ruefully poetic in your prose. There are elements of prophesy that I sincerely hope will be allowed to grow into reality.

In the scheme of global comparisons, one would undoubtedly agree there are dreadful grades of awfulness.

The producers of the cards lack linguistic knowledge and also lack a knowledgeable editor. The shop owner, sadly, probably did not have the knowledge to return the cards as sub-standard.

flightplot said...

That's poor on both counts and I wonder if many are bought and sent. If I received one I think I would despair. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Mr F,

I really hope there are sufficient numbers of people around who won't buy that card - it is deplorable and yes, I would have very mixed feelings about receiving one of those cards. xx

Snowbird said...

Standards should be maintained, especially if you are selling such cards,it's so easy to get bloomin' sloppy about everything isn't it
We all need a strong backbone, and should pay attention to the small stuff as well as the big! Good post!xxx

ZACL said...

Hi Snowbird,

Thank you.

I absolutely agree, that we should check small stuff, and not just focus on what is considered as the main chance. Perish the thought that those cards have been and do get dispersed.

A friend said to me, who would know the difference with text speak so common. She did and I did; in any case in text speak I think there would be an expectation that you write 'u r' and not 'ur'.

xx