On my mind
FOR many people in Carmarthenshire language issues relate to Welsh and its promotion, but for some people in England it is about propriety.
Often referred to as the Honourable Member for the 18th Century, Jacob (let’s trade with Mesopotamia) Rees-Mogg has called for his office staff to obey some rules of language decorum.
The old Etonian has a delightful brood of mini Moggs with enigmatic names.
My favourite is that given to his three-yearold - Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius, named after Alfred the Great, a hermit, an ancestor who died at the battle of Gallipoli and Pope Pius IX.
I wonder if they all are encouraged, like his staff, to use imperial measures, avoid words such as “equal’” (as in “equal opportunities”) regard the phrase “no longer fit for purpose” as no longer fit for purpose and address all “non-titled” males as “Esquire” (technically the outmoded designation of a man below the rank of a knight).
However, I do have some sympathy with his fears of the adulteration of the English language, a feature which has led to resurgence to double figures in membership of the Comma Protection Society and the Association for the Abolition of the Erroneous Apostrophe.
The militant wings of both these organisations are railing at the fate of so many apostrophes hanging in eternal meaninglessness, and at the “commaphilia” which is causing semantic chaos throughout Britain.
They suggest the formation of a Punctuation Vigilantes group to root the worst examples.
Yet some have seen a sinister punctuation plot to confuse the English language and the Brexit negotiations with Europe. For example: Michel Barnier – “Do you want to discuss another deal? PM – “We want to. Clear off now.” Or was it: “We want to clear off now”? Careful.