I wonder how many words are down at the job centre today.
Miserable pronouns, signing on after unfulfilled employment. Verbs, mangled in bizarre texting accidents, seeking new positions “in a book somewhere…anywhere…just not on a phone screen”. Redundant syntax, queuing dolefully, oozing pessimism.
Nothing is forever, of course. Language has an elastic dynamism, mutating before our very eyes. The current vogue in British advertising (one of a whole catalogue of vogues) is for adjectives to become nouns. Wahanda’s ‘Book yourself fabulous’ is peppered across tube stations in London. Right Move’s ‘Find Your Happy’ is the real estate business’ answer to umpteen Pharell sing-a-longs. Expedia splendidly encourages us all to ‘Travel Yourself Interesting’.
There’s a pub closing time game to be played here. The Daily Mail: Read yourself angry. BBC’s Masterchef: Cook yourself tearful. UKIP: Vote yourself stranded. Suggestions gratefully received.
While language is busy repurposing itself, learning new skills and trades, trying hard to provide for its speakers and writers, there’s another phenomenon to test us. Determined phrases from across the known world are sneaking across our borders all the time. It’s an onslaught. I have visions of British juggernauts being stopped at Tilbury, Harwich or Dover by the Syntax police, only to find entire foreign dictionaries clinging to their axels.
Fantastic. It’s what makes us richer, smarter, better at understanding each other. Capisce?