Chillax dudes the kids talk alright

Ja’ime King and friends, the comic creations of Chris Lilley.
Good news, povos! Ja’ime King, Chris Lilley’s monster in a private school uniform, is on her way back, ready to sort out the hot from the fugly in a new TV series, Ja’ime: Private School Girl.

That Lilley will be back on our screens at all is welcome news; that he’s channelling his bold satire through Ja’ime is even better. Not only does Lilley give us, through his young alpha female, a sharp, painfully accurate insight into teenage girl-dom, but he also has a gift for replicating youthful slang in all its wit and potential cruelty.

For me, it’s a reminder that the constant laments about young people corrupting the English language and the infiltration of ”text-speak” into the popular lexicon are as tedious as they are misguided. The way kids use language, and create their own, is actually a wonderful thing: sometimes warm and sometimes brutal, often witty and heavily ironic, filled with the ennui – affected or real – of yoof, which has been around, well, forever. Frankly, I’d take kid-speak over the cold clunkiness of corporate-speak, where everyone is being ”incentivised” to ”action” their ”learnings”, and so on.

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On a not very bright grammar test

On a not very bright grammar test

An English-teacher correspondent in the UK writes to tell me a very worrying – but totally to be expected – story emerging from the Key Stage 2 grammar test marking earlier this year. Question 16 asks children to complete the sentence ‘The sun shone ________ in the sky.’ and the mark scheme reads ‘Accept any appropriate adverb, e.g. brightly, beautifully’.

A child presented the answer ‘The sun shone bright in the sky’, and this was marked wrong, on the grounds that it is ‘not an adverb’.<!–more- Continue reading

The world’s doomed in anyone’s language

The world’s doomed in anyone’s language as English is broken

Alice Clarke•
Herald Sun•
September 02, 201312:00
LANGUAGE is a funny, pliable thing. For centuries it was influenced by the best scholars, who found new and inventive ways to advance it and make it more accessible and useful for everyone. Today, it’s more influenced by the idiots who comment on YouTube.
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Death in 140 characters

On the day when my brother died this April, I went to Twitter and wrote to my twenty- something – thousand followers:

So all of these people on Twitter knew about my brother’s passing, even before I was able to share the news with our Aunt Patsy in Ballarat.
Was it wrong or right for me to turn to social media in that intense time of grief? Disrespectful, unthinking, oversharing?
Just what did I think I’d get out of it? Was it for him or me, or… I’ve been thinking lately about all of that. Continue reading

Do grammar and spelling matter anymore?


Two of the three Rs are just not a priority anymore.

Here’s the great thing about Microsoft Word. That coloured squiggly line – the one that appears below words and sentences – is a useful warning sign, letting people know they’ve screwed up something. Sure, the software gets it wrong sometimes, but mostly it gets it right. Which is why it’s astounding errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation still saturate business communication.

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The dictionary allows an infuriating misuse of language

The dictionary allows an infuriating misuse of language, writes Christopher Howse. The Daily Telegraph

They are running short of onions in Bihar, the Indian state justly famed for the quality of its alliaceous ‘‘ I used to buy three kilograms of onion for a week,’’ a housewife told The Times of India, ‘‘ but now I have cut down to one kilogram because the price has almost tripled’’ . And how did the paper headline this news? ‘‘ Skyrocketing onion prices bring tears, literally!’’

An exclamation mark or screamer is generally a sign that the little joke being made is not one that the author is terribly confident will be spotted by the reader. But what of the literally? Continue reading