English are my first language.
I are speaking English since I were two years of age.
I are also able to spoke Irish and a little bit of French.
Language are important. It are important for communication. It are important to distinguish us from other species.
And so, it is important for we to preserve language.
It are important for the media to do so also.
Which is why it baffled me when I see newspapers such as the Irish Times and the London Times and broadcasters such as RTE in Ireland and the once venerable BBC, abandoned all pretence at the correct use of English.
Grammar are a thing of the past.
Oh, I can’t keep this up.
I find it a great deal easier to be correct than to be incorrect.
Why do the four institutions named above, seem to believe that the world government is plural?
Why do they think the word couple is plural?
And the words team, family, company, club, organisation, committee and syndicate?
Why is it always: “The government are...” and “the team are...” and “the couple are...”?
The BBC occasionally refers to itself in the plural: “The BBC are....”
And it’s not just grammar.
Listening to radio and television news, we are often informed that, for example, “a man was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for assaulting a man in the district court today.” To which I say that the district court is a pretty daft place in which to assault somebody.
What we should have been told, is that “a man was sentenced to six months imprisonment in the district court today, for assaulting another man.
Another example: “The Minister said he would tackle the difficulties in the economy when he arrived in Paris today.” To which I say, I wish he would tackle the difficulties in the economy before he goes to Paris at all.
What we should have been told was that “the Minister said, on his arrival in Paris, that he would tackle the difficulties in the economy.
And here’s another: “Gardai today named the man who died in a road accident yesterday.”
To which I say: That’s nice of them. What did they call him?
What we should have been told is that “gardai have released the name of the man...” and so on.
We are told that “over a million pounds has been stolen” when what is meant is “more than a million pounds has been stolen.”
The English language is constantly being eroded by laziness, bad teaching and bad example.
There is barely a politician in the English speaking world who has any grasp of grammar or syntax.
Indeed, George W Bush is marginally ahead of our own Bertie Ahern when it comes to the garbled use of English.
You may think none of this matters once we can understand each other.
Oh, but it does.
Man started off communicating by making basic sounds. “Ugh” “Oogh” “Aagh.”
The way we’re going, that’s the way we will be communicating in the not too distant future.
If you don’t believe me, ask a question of a moody teenager.
(PS You don’t need to tell me that I too make mistakes. I don’t claim to be perfect!)