|Going Off At A Tangent
||[Jul. 11th, 2018|09:19 am]
Peter finished the bathroom. He'll be back later this year to reconfigure the downstairs toilet. |
What's the acceptable word for toilet? Is it "loo" or "lavatory" or what? There was a time when the words you used for a whole range of things carried class signifiers and people in my stratum of society- respectable middle-class- worried in case the archdeacon's wife came to tea and they said something to make her smirk. Nancy Mitford wrote a book on the subject- called U and Non-U- or something of the sort and John Betjeman wrote a poem embodying her insights, which was simply crammed with unacceptable words, the first line of which goes, "Phone for the fish knives, Norman." How we tittered.
Pronunciation was a big thing too. I went through a phase (probably to do with the configuration of my teeth) when I said my "th"s as ""f"s- as in "I fink I saw a fylacine" and my grandfather- a wealthy man whose social origins were humble- used to take me to task for it. How embarrassing for him if people mistook his grandson for a cockney.
Anyway- reminiscing over- the bathroom's done- and my mother is- this very moment- enjoying her first bath in three and a half weeks.
Hm... Now this is an interesting aspect for me to consider in German...
I guess, except from doing the usual cursing, actually I try to use as less as plebs language possible. It... it just doesn't fit my style.
I'm not that Neanderthal man which just enjoys his crackerbarrel and his bear and that's it about the world that he wants to know. I'm more the type for the intellectual thing, even though it tends to be a mix of real technical terms that exist and easy-kept language then. Technical terms you need because some things just are called like that, you'll find nothing in easy-going language to express the same content (by the way - why not use them if the professionals do so too?), but on the other hand, you always have to keep it easily understandable too just for not losing oversight yourself and in order to have people understand what you're talking about to actually be able to get into a conversation with someone else.
Other than that, guess it's just some kind of "formal" style to speak. Without being really formal actually in the classic sense. Just... errr... objective.
For me the important thing is to keep it alive- which means avoiding cliché and looking for the surprising word (only not so surprising as to be far-fetched).
Well, I guess I got this (maybe) horrible feature that formal German language has too - to turn each and everything into a noun, even where you can't do that...
But, still in between, I think there's enough flexibility to demonstrate I'm not entirely as linguistically gifted as Windows 3.11 machine. Just speak or have an idea of too many languages for that...
I tend to use toilet myself.
I guess I do too. Leastways it was the word that came to hand when I was writing the post.
Americans are full of lots of cute words that avoid the idea that one might be going into that particular room to urinate or defecate, all quite twee.
My grandmother favoured, "going to see a man about a dog". It took me a long while to work out that she wasn't talking literally.
My particular hate was "the little girls room" or "little boys room".
Those are horrible.
My mother says "going to spend a penny"- harking back to the days when that's what it cost to use a public toilet.