Wednesday, 16 October 2019

English As We Don’t Know It

Jagmeet Singh, (Canada’s NDP leader) switches seamlessly from formality to so-called ‘multicultural Toronto English,’ sounding educated and down-to-earth at the same time, writes Prajakta Dhopade in Maclean’s magazine. 

"Not only does Singh use an informal register here, but he seems to be influenced by something U of T Mississauga linguist Derek Denis refers to as “multicultural Toronto English.”  Multicultural Toronto English is a “multiethnolect”— a variation of language that is influenced by multiple ethnic groups”.

Denis says a characteristic of this particular multiethnolect is noticeable in the “o” vowel sound in Singh’s “yo.”  Rather than moving his jaw to turn two vowel sounds into one (a diphthong—that would sound like “yuh-oh”),  Singh uses a monophthong, where the jaw is still while making that “o” sound, so more like “y-OH.”  Toronto slang and multicultural Toronto English are heard a lot in the suburbs of Toronto, including in Brampton, where Singh was an MPP and where Denis happened to have collected some of his research.  This type of pronunciation is also common in Jamaican patois, Nigerian English and Indian English, to name a few, says Denis”.

“That might appeal to multiple demographics;  to university students in downtown Toronto who appreciate his use of slang and multicultural Toronto English, but also to those in rural Ontario, where informal language is everyday-speak. His ability to have both a distinct “work voice” and a “talking to friends” voice is something every Canadian can relate to — he just does it on a public stage”.

I have always been concerned by the impact on changes to the English language as represented by the Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.) by such linguistic developments.  The O.E.D. (or whichever dictionary you may be unfortunate to use) is affected by so-called ‘common usage’ and should not be dismissed lightly.  Like it or not, we are bound to accept the authority of edited dictionaries, as long as terms, i.e., common usage and slang, are highlighted.  

Personally, I believe that such words be described in a separate addendum, and left for a reasonable period of time, until included in the main content.  Otherwise, obsolescent editions become a problem ... have you checked yours recently ?

Please, add your comment here.

Saturday, 21 September 2019


During my teenage years (In those precarious eons when fire-breathing dragons roamed the school playing fields) I was chosen to play Antonio in the play The Merchant of Venice.  I imagine that Italians were considered to be dark-skinned at that time and, thus, I wore skin-darkening makeup.  

Somewhere, amongst my ‘treasures’ may be found a photograph … but no video.  

Incidentally, it being a boys school, Portia was played (with a few giggles) by a classmate.  He knew nothing about a ‘Me-too’ movement.  

Today’s subject is racism.

Racism [noun]  Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior:  A programme to combat racism.  The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:  Theories of racism.

Based on the outrage in the media, I considered it necessary to reveal my coloured past, just in case    well, you know, there could be an important position vacant tomorrow.

Honestly, this subject is absurd, almost everyone could be described in such a manner of identifying as racist according to the definition (above) should we wish to stretch the definition.

Yesterday, I visited a local popular beach.  There, I witnessed hundreds of people laying [sic] in the sunshine attempting to change their skin colour into various shades of brown.  Well, I’m just saying.  Could you share the argument in your mind with us.  

P.S.  Interestingly, Antonio has been described as the consummate bachelor which, personally, is somewhat ironic … if not God’s will.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The South African Achilles Heel

Seriously, there may be a way forward to advantage the next generation of South Africans.  It occurred to me today, after reading a group e-mail from a group of white women looking for signatures and donations highlighting their cause.  Without doubt, a worthy cause — femicide.  But, in the general South African scheme of things, signed petitions are analogous to waving a feather at a charging elephant. The elephant analogy fits nicely here where the country is the china shop and parliament is an elephant.

Incidentally, once, I watched a video;  the scene is a dirt road with thick bush on either side.  Suddenly, a huge bull elephant emerges from the bush and makes a charge towards the camera.  Then, a young boy, a teenager, is seen running towards the elephant and, waving his arms in the air, shouted “Stop!” (That’s what it sounded like).  Immediately, the elephant screeched to a halt, flapping its ears and waving its trunk.  Then, as quickly as it came, the elephant retreated into the bush.

It seemed that I may have digressed somewhat but, maybe I didn’t …. 

The point that I wish to make is that satisfying as petitions, and marches, may be (to the marchers), the parliamentary elephant will not, in fact, stop.

There needs to be another way.  For example, thinking outside of the box.

Think about the real inner minds of parliamentarians.  What are their really private thoughts, should they be forced to consider the answer to a bankrupt country.  Is it only a short-term aid to accept international funds from corrupt large companies, and so on.  Sadly, I doubt that it is femicide.

Great leaders study in detail the defective minds of their enemies.  What is the Achilles heel of the South African parliament? 

Seriously, think about this (The true inner mind of each politician).  Make notes, instead of petitions.  Become diligent researchers.  Share and compare, and debate, until each  politician’s Achilles heel is revealed.  Then, focus, and lever one’s demands on that, individually.

It is an appropriate phrase, a cliché;  Rome was not built in a day …. 

Do you agree?

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Global Warming -- Steve Bannon

Recently, I received some correspondence from my friend John Outram (Author of renown) regarding a letter to Andrew Scheer about global warming leading to the circuitous introduction of Steve Bannon.  It caused some active conversation between us, and I wonder, hopefully, if others could join in.  

Here's something to chew on:  
Scroll down to the letter from Mr. Stockman.


From: "Andrew Scheer" <>


Sent: Friday, August 30, 2019 11:16:19 AM
Subject: Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / Bureau du Chef de l’Opposition officielle

August 30, 2019

Dear Mr. Stockman:

On behalf of the Hon. Andrew Scheer, thank you for your correspondence. We appreciated having the opportunity to review your comments regarding climate change. Please know that your input is valued.

------------------- Original Message -------------------
From: Stockman, Gordon
Received: 2019/08/07
To: Scheer, Andrew; Scheer, Andrew

Subject: There is No Climate Emergency or Crisis

Dear Mr. Scheer

The column below, by Gwyn Morgan in the Financial Post is just one of many recent ones that have provided some excellent commentary on and counterpoints to the current government's position re climate change, fossil fuel and pipeline exploitation, and carbon taxation. 

Text deleted …. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

South Africa Today

I have always made this Blog available for statements to be made by our followers in order to develop conversation on subjects that would be of interest to others.  My good friend Stephanie de Bon has offered the following statement to show the little-discussed (often ignored) problems in her homeland.

This is what I have heard from some of our indigenous people since the year 1994 heralded the new dawn of freedom for South Africa. 

The ANC inherited a fully functional country and a prosperous one.  The public sector, from government departments down to town councils worked.  The infrastructure:  health, transport, education, security, police, water, sewage, and electricity, all functioned, and our agriculture fed the country. Mineral wealth helped fund all this.

In 25 years all this has been broken down.  From levels A to Z in the public sector, cadres did work that they were not competent to do (at inflated salaries) so that, today, we have a country where there are protests - violent ones - about the lack of service delivery.  The hospitals are malfunctioning, roads are in bad repair, the train services are interrupted and the airline is not flying and planes are in a state of bad repair.  The school system does not deliver a literate population, crime is out of control, police are corrupt, water is polluted and sewage flowing into our rivers.  The electricity board (Escom) is billions in debt, and we have outages from time to time.  Municipalities owe billions in electricity charges which are not paid.  SOE’s (State-owned Enterprises) are queuing up for billions in handouts, and the feeling here is that they should, except for Escom, be closed down. 

On top of this the billions of dollars lost in revenue where these same freedom fighters have ripped the treasury off and pocketed the money.  S.A. is, in the president's words, “BANKRUPT”.

Now, tell me how well the ANC is qualified to run a modern economy.