4/29/2009

When did we stop speaking English ?

The silly advert on TV this evening promoting registering to vote in the European elections (no mention of English council elections by the way) highlights the fact that the people who put adverts together do not speak English properly.

At the end of the ad it says "Register by May 19th"

What ? May 19th ? 05/19 ? What the hell is going on ?

In Britain we say "19th May" and we write dates (and before 9/11 said dates) correctly stating the day before the month.

Who are these pillocks who think we speak American ?

7 comments:

Duncan Borrowman said...

It infuriates me too.

britologywatch said...

Actually, technically (pedantically), we say - as opposed to write - 'the 19th of May'. So if they did say 'May 19th' - as opposed to 'May the 19th' - that's even worse, from the purist's (pedant's) point of view: perpetrating the Americanism of omitting the definite article when speaking dates.

But I think saying / writing dates in the 'American' way has a longer pedigree in British English than you're admitting. For instance, 'September the 11th' - which was initially used instead of '9/11' - doesn't sound too jarring or un-English, to me at least; nor does 'July the 7th', as in the July the 7th bombers. But I agree, it's better style in British English (or should that be English English?) to put the day before the month.

But then again, isn't American English also 'English' in the linguistic sense of the term?

Richard T said...

The same aerosols who call flats apartments (they daren't use condos), cookies not biscuits, upcoming for forthcoming, ..ize for ..ise. Once you start the list gets endless. It's on the same basis that the BBC and the press went completely overboard on the US elections uneembarassingy showing ther complete f**king ingnorance of their system. The media have decided the US is cool and I'm sadly afraid the tide is irreversible; I will however do my best to keep good english usage.

Richard T said...

PS, I'm sorry I missed saying glad to see you're back blogging.

Costigan Quist said...

We're disagreeing more than we should, but I'm afraid that form of date has a long history in British English.

For example, take a look at old Grauniad stories http://century.guardian.co.uk

A quote from 1899:

"On Monday, October 23, we overtook the Aberdeen White Star vessel, the Ninevah, south of the Equator.

On Sunday, October 29, the Australasian, again of the Aberdeen White Star Line, came in sight. "

Paul Hulbert said...

Personally I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with May 19th, as long as it's pronounced "May the 19th".

I suspect this might be a regional variation.

Paul (Bristolian, but I speak English too)

Norfolk Blogger said...

I agree that the ommission of "the" is probably the most annoying thing.

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