Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ear Sore

I have an idea - I've mentioned it before, I admit - that there is a new language growing up around the world, which is English but not as we native English speakers know it.

One striking manifestation of this is businesses selecting names for themselves that they think are puns. Unfortunately, puns made by those who don't really really thoroughly understand the nuances of a language - in a way that is all but impossible for those speaking it as a second tongue - tend to be unsuccessful weird kinds of puns.

I've seen lots of examples in Brussels - but generally speaking I tend to get bored of pointing out the same phenomenon over and over again, plus I haven't seen any that are quite wrongheadedly hilarious and batty enough to go to the effort of making a blog post for.

However, when my husband came home this evening and told me that he had heard a Belgian radio station proudly bellow out its logo on the car radio four times in the short space between his office and our house, I thought it so hilariously awful that I couldn't resist sharing it.

Despite the fact that the adjectival intensifier in question is used in colloquial conversation to an astonishing extent these days, from what I've eavesdropped while in Britain lately, no business run by genuine English speakers would make the mistake of thinking that it is a word that can be glibly chucked about to promote a commercial enterprise. Running an enterprise that sounds as if a bunch of bearded motorbike gang members are in charge is an approach that carries with it some dangers, I'd have thought. Perhaps I move in sheltered circles though - you decide. Here is the slogan (they have taken it, I presume, from the F and the G that are the station's call sign):

Is it misguided or am I out of touch? Or, indeed, hypocritical, given I was only recently promoting that long-forgotten poem, "The Great Australian Adjective".


  1. Some years back, I was in the village in Lower Saxony from which two of my great-grandparents emigrated. A boy of seven or eight, a very distant cousin, had a toy with the motto "Go Ape Shit" written on it. He spoke, that I could tell, no English at all.

    1. We've just been in the Saxon areas of Romania, for what it's worth. I wonder if you have a distant relative amongst the people there - or not there, as most Saxons have left for Germany

  2. This town in Lower Saxony is about 50 kilometers from the Dutch border. I don't know who may have ended up where back in the late Middle Ages, but if tasked to recruit Saxons for Transylvania, I'd have looked first in Electoral Saxony to save everyone time and expense.

  3. Wherever they came from, sadly almost all the Saxons have cleared off, in what they see,misguidedly, I hope, as a window of opportunity before another Ceausescu takes over