On my mind

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - With Gra­ham Davies Fol­low Gra­ham Esq. on Twit­[email protected]

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.

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