Monday 23 April 2018

Kevin Myers: No offence, but let's end this god-awful nonsense

Kevin Myers

LISTEN to the Irish rugby players in New Zealand. They don't speak any more of "lads" or "fellows" or "chaps". Nowadays, to my mind tragically, they'll only say "guys". For Australians, the word "bloke" was once a defining term of their identity. Now it's all "guys guys guys".

This week I got an email from the Broadcasting Authority on the subject of food advertising for children, asking all "stakeholders" to offer their opinions. And no, I have no idea what a stakeholder is, but I do know that the arrival of such words in our language is proof of unintended verbal movement. And usually, there's not much we can do about this. Language mutates the whole time, and often enough without explanation.

But when we are being subject to ideological diktat over language usage, we should beware. An accidental cold is one thing: deliberately inculcated syphilis, quite another. The BBC is now advising its broadcasters to abandon the terms BC, as in Before Christ, and AD, as in Anno Domini, and to replace them with Before the Common Era and Common Era.

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