This started when we were on the way to Weymouth recently and passed a sign at the side of the road bearing the words “BABY SWANS!” An arrow indicated a turning where you could see the ‘baby swans.’
But honestly, baby swans!!! I was verging on apoplectic. Has the word ‘cygnet’ been taken out of the dictionary?
Does whoever wrote the sign – and I hope it wasn’t someone at the Abbotsbury Swannery – really feel that the public won’t understand the word ‘cygnet?’
Do they imagine that to the general public these days ‘cygnet’ might be an obscure engineering term or perhaps be mistaken for a type of screw found along with the instructions for building an MFI wardrobe?
“Take cygnet B and screw counterclockwise into spigot N. Remember to insert washer before tightening.”
Maybe they think the public will think the reference to cygnet can only mean something jewellery orientated. In these days of bling for men, perhaps cygnet rings are all the rage.
This constant dumbing down of the language is insidious and must be stopped.
Today I saw “Baby Cats Milk” on a cannister in a pet shop.
I have seen adverts for petting farms featuring ‘baby cows’ ‘baby ducks’ and even ‘baby calves!’
Is the man on the Clapham Omnibus taken to be a completely illiterate simpleton these days?