Language!!

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?

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Coast, Current Affairs, Seaside and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Language!!

  1. IsobelandCat says:

    Mind you I don’t know the correct term for a baby rabbit. Or is it a kitten?
    I agree with everything you say here. If you don’t give people the chance to expand their vocabulary and respect their ability to understand unfamiliar words, you are leaving them in a linguistic limbo.

  2. janh1 says:

    I thought it was leveret for young rabbits and hares, but I could be wrong.

    A bit of a rant, Isobel but signs and notices like this encourage ignorance. I’d prefer to see “cygnets” with a cartoon picture of little fluffy cute birds if it needs to be made clear!

  3. IsobelandCat says:

    leveret for hares I know.

  4. IsobelandCat says:

    Kits, short for kittens for baby rabbits.

    It sounds daft, but I think singing hymns with archaic words and having to follow King James’ version of the bible at church and school, gave my generation a bit of a headstart language wise. I mean All people that on earth do dwell, and Immortal, invisible, God only wise are just two of the hymns I remember from when I was very young.

  5. ‘Is the man on the Clapham Omnibus taken to be a completely illiterate simpleton these days?’

    Sadly, yes. Lowest common denominator is used. I blame it on that American lady who drove with a cup of coffee between her legs and then sued the company because it spilled and she was burned because of her own stupidity – but she still won her case.

    Businesses are afraid and try to avoid any confusion whatsoever, therefore, brains are not stretched.

  6. IsobelandCat says:

    I blame it on Margaret Thatcher.

  7. You blame many things on Margaret Thatcher 😛

  8. IsobelandCat says:

    Everything.
    It’s always her fault if you look hard enough.

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