Brit-speak: is it just me?

by | Oct 4, 2017

In early 2016 – you may recall with great trepidation – the series Downton Abbey ended its run on PBS (the Public Broadcasting System in the United States). And lo! there was an outcry in the land!

Whether it’s Downton Abbey, Victoria, or Poldark, if you watch a lot of PBS, do you find yourself repeating Brit-speak?

Or is it just me?

Oops!

Not too long ago, I started to say, “Shall we go in?” instead of “Dinner’s ready.” I knew it was time for me to stop watching the DA DVD collection for a while.

OK, this is where you lean in for me to whisper, “Wouldn’t you like to hear Cora say – just once – ‘C’mon, ladies, let’s leave the men to their brandy and go in the other room to talk about them,’ instead of her polite, ‘Shall we go through?’ Violet would have died on the spot.”

Anyway, when I almost put ‘me’ at the end of a sentence – can’t you hear Daisy say “I like that, me”? – I realized spending all that time in the little town of Downton was rubbing off.

“What’s the point, Kathie?”

Where am I going with this? This whole issue got me thinking. We speak what we hear, don’t we?

I was blessed to grow up in a family where proper grammar was spoken every day. Although I thought it was mean at the time, I now see why my parents said “No” to my watching The Beverly Hillbillies. Even the first episodes of The Andy Griffith Show were bad for a kid.

Some are not as fortunate

My husband was not as fortunate.

Even after our being together nearly 35 years, he still struggles with grammar. He has worked very hard, and it is amazing how far he’s come. He’s constantly improving, and I commend him for his dedication. (When he got the right plural with “attorneys general” the other day, I was so proud of him. That one’s not easy.)


Your Takeaway: Although we’ve had some fun today, let’s double down on the serious need to speak and write properly. This is especially important around children. As people become lax in this area, perhaps we can shine as beacons of civility. It’s worth a try.

Final Note: Let’s work diligently to ensure our words represent us well. We never know who is listening to – or reading – those words.

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Kathie York, CSQE
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