Friday, December 17, 2004

American English, and U-Boats!

I have been developing a theory about the curious dislike of vowels, displayed in the way America uses our language. I accept, by the way, that it is *their* language too, and that 280 million people (many of who speak Spanish as a first language) are entitled to make changes as they see fit :)

Nonetheless, waging a wicked and merciless campaign against a vowel (or two) is simply an unreasonable use of the nuclear deterrent. I put this quite highly, as none of the other nuclear powers have seen fit to abuse our (their) language in such a manner. Indeed the French have a Government dept. tasked with the job of actually preserving French and keeping out English/American expressions. They are losing the battle, I think for two main reasons. One is that French, like all languages, is a living language …. which will develop and change to reflect the experience of native French speakers. The French really cannot want their language to die, and become the *Latin* of Europe. I do take the point that certain steps should be taken to prevent the other main reason their language is being corrupted ….. McDonalds.

In another place, and at another time, I had cause to be thankful to McDonalds for their influence in separate matter, but this is a family journal, so if you want to know what I mean, you are gonna have to ask :)

I do not, nor do the French, thank McDonalds for *le Big Mac*, *les fries*, etc.

But I digress …..

It seems that over the last hundred years or so, the letter *u* has been sent to Alaska. Not literally, you understand (there is no *u* in Alaska either), but I was trying to think of where America would send things they don’t much approve of, and I came up with Alaska ….. or maybe Salt Lake City … I’ll have to ask an American :)

So, for my American friends and readers, here are some *original* spellings. Colour, labour, favour, flavour, favourite … and here is an odd one *aluminium* …. Note the second *i*. When I pronounced the word *al-u-min-ee-um* in conversation, my friend Lori just giggled … Harumphfff!!!

Which all begs the question: “Why?” Why is it that America chose to outlaw the *u*? Was there an ink shortage? A pressing need to write or read faster?

Or is it, as I believe, a conspiracy by Piano Manufacturers? Yes dear, you did read that correctly, and there is no *u* in Piano either …. Not even in *Pianoforte*, to give the instrument much abused in bars it’s proper name :)

You may know (or soon will) that the very best pianos are made by Germans. Such famous names as Bluthner, Bosendorfher, Bechstein are among them. The most famous of all being the name of Steinway. Yup, I know Steinway are American, but here is the thing …. They are too a German family. Rather like our Royal Family, as it happens. And I would be perfectly content to accept that we were to blame for the American persecution of the *u*, were it not for the fact that the only Royal we tried to export to the United States (HRH The Duchess of York or *Freeloading Fergie* to her friends) was promptly sent home with a *Return to Sender* sticker on her forehead.

So, if the Germans are responsible for stealing the letter U, then what possible motive could there be? And now we have the crux of it. Have you noticed how the Germans name their submarines? Yes, they are called *U-Boats*, and they all have an identifying number beginning with a *U*. What is more, they needed quite a few. A recent Hollywood movie about how America won the war was called U-571. That equates to five hundred and seventy one words that need to loose a vowel, just to provide the names for the German Navy. It all makes sense.

Steinway immigrate into the United States, begin to make pianos (good ones too) …. In the meantime they are quietly amassing a stockpile of *U*s, German Navy for the use of. This allows Germany to attempt to wrest control of the world from Britain …. An attempt which ultimately fails, but in return for help in defeating the new owners of the stolen *U*s, we gratefully give control of the world to our latest, if a little tardy, ally the United States of America.

So guys, you swapped the letter *U* for world domination …. Not bad, not bad at all :)

ps. G W Bush apologised recently, for the USA being a little late entering the last two world wars. He promised to make up for it by being *extremely prompt* for the next one!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
I keep checking, but no entries since December!
How are you doing? Where are you? What's happening re. the love life? Not that I'm nosey, but I do enjoy reading your journal.
Most important of all- are you happy? I do hope so.