Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seen Stealer

I like this. I agree with it, mostly. Here, and elsewhere, I've made up words just for the sound of it, used a little alliteration. After watching the above, I decided to let the misuse of "its" or "it's" pass. Hell, even before finding the video I'd stopped correcting Frankie's debauchery of his kidnapped tongue (though not so much out of good graces as the recognition that it was like trying to get the earth to rotate backwards.)

Still however nonetheless no matter: I'll never be able to find equanimity of ear at the sound of an eyewitness on the local news saying "I seen this guy..." Or reading the quote in a news article. Same pain, in the eye.

It's/its. Your/you're. Their/they're: I... (gritting teeth) can.... (clenching jaw) handle.... (digging fingernails into own skin) them.... They're homophones, after all, so...

But "seen" for "saw." No. No can do. I can't help it. It yokelizes. It dumbifies, fingerpointbacks. It announces "I dropped out, I never paid attention, I haven't read anything since the third grade and if I noticed, I wouldn't care. In fact, I'm glad."

Sorry. I know it's nasty elitism on my part. But it's a sound I can't unhear, a screech I can't ungrate, a saber I can't unstab. I've thought about it, I've looked at it hard, and I seen it for what it is.

[Bonus entertainment:]


  1. Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid Sid , yeah thats 13 "Sids" which also happens to be the temperature right now, 13 Degrees Fahrenheits, in GEORGIA, and its still Fall if the President(Peace be upon Him) hasn't issued a Presidential Order saying its not..
    And I thought you believed in Evil-lution?? Languages EVOLVE Sid, thats why you don't here "Thou" much anymore but you do here 8 yr olds dropping F-Bombs.. And "Saw" sounds stupid, almost as bad as "Sneaked".
    "I Sneaked" or "I Snuck", which sounds cooler?
    Seriously, I love when people talk bad English, almost as much as teaching my 5 yr old Nephew curse words..
    And if you want a rigid non-evolving language, try German, no annoying apostrophe's, letters you don't pronounce, letters you do pronounce, but like a different letter, and every nouns capitalized so you know its a Noun and not the other thing.
    Umm OK, there is that annoying Case/Gender system so you have to say "Der Vater Meines Kind" instead of "Baby Daddy" and you can totally change the meaning if you forget an umlaut...
    which is why most germans mumble...


  2. My mother, God love her, certainly above-average intelligence, voracious reader, somehow developed this seen-drome, maybe in West Texas? No one has a clue. Her sisters, both academics, have no idea how it happened. But to her, the past tense of "see" is "seen," and she has listened to her children and others for years try to gently correct her and she still just can't get there. It fascinates me: She understands, intellectually, that "saw" is a verb that has to do with seeing; she just can't construct a sentence in which she uses it and it sounds right to her, after all these years. Language funny.

  3. "Is English too ironic to sustain Hitlerian styles? Would his language simply have rung false in our ears?"

    Then he talks about the language reflecting the qualities of tolerance and resistance to false emotion. Oh, I wish. He must be talking about British and not American English.

  4. OK Sid...
    I admit, I have a Gramatical Pet Peave myself...although I never state it in pubic cause then I'll sound like some old fuddy duddy who's not jiggy with the new hippity hop jive slang the crazy kids today use...
    "GENDER" which in my Funk & Wagners (OK I don't really have a Funk & Wagners, but its what my Dad used to say when he'd explain his pet peeves) Gender is a GRAMATICAL concept, i.e, in German "Fork" is feminine, "Spoon" is Masculine, and "Knife" is neutral, doesn't make sense, but does make it easier to spot spies...(see "Inglorius Basterds")
    But if I had a dime for everytime someones asked me what "GENDER" a patient is....
    The correct word is "SEX"!!!!!!!! Don't be afraid to say it proud, out loud...
    Sex is Natural,
    Sex is GOOD........
    think how stupid "I want your Gender" sounds...


  5. I've heard "I seen . . ." so often that it's lost its power to grate on my mind's ear, but I don't think I'll ever be able to hear "I had went" without cringing.

  6. Had went. Yes, that does draw a little blood, too.

  7. Frank! It was gray and raining, then the sky opened up and a flock of white doves filled the air with their song. I agree with you on something! The misuse of 'gender' irks me me too. I gather that among homosexual and transsexuals, gender now means something akin to the sex one perceives oneself to be, apart from one's biology. So this battle would seem to be lost.

    'Alot', bother me. So does putting words in quotations for... well, I'm not sure why they do that. Also the term 'fecal matter'; when did 'feces' fall out of fashion? While I'm at it, all of a sudden everyone seems to write 'loose' when they mean 'lose'. "Give it to him and I" instead of "him and me" always sets off an alarm. Finally, computers and people with nooses can be hanged; I am hung.

    I'll stifle my OCD here.

  8. From my nieces: "me & her, me & my friends, me & ..." whomever. Or "where is it at?" Fingers on the chalkboard, to me. Then again, I was taught grammar by cranky, no nonsense nuns. That made a difference.

  9. My husband's mother was from Brooklyn, NY. She didn't finish elementary school. She had a great deal of the Brooklyn accent, and insisted on saying "I seen..." for her whole life. I believe that was the only mistake she made in spoken English.

    Greetings from Hong Kong, where CHINGLISH is heard everywhere! Sid, when you were here in 1971, did you get to see the skyline?


    Regrettably, we have not had a clear day since we arrived on 12/10. This is air pollution and a general fog which shroud the main island for more than 100 days every year. Sad, but true.

  10. Not only saw the skyline, but was part of it, as we stayed in the newly-opened and then-named "Hong Kong Hotel," overlooking the Star Ferry and the waterfront.


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