English, but not as we know it

Guest Post: By Brian Rogers



Some articles are timeless and can be enjoyed even years after they were first published. With Brian’s blessing we revisit, ‘English but not as we know it.’

SunLive: Ewes are awesome. Talent judge Stan Walker from the TV3 hit show, The X Factor.

We’ve had a stampede of ewes telling us your favourite bastardisations of the English language, otherwise known as ‘Stan Walker-isms’.

Although we are not sure that ewes stampede. It’s technically more of a flocking, although we’d have to consult an agricultural specialist to be sure.
Astute readers may recall that last week we featured Stan, with his trademark “Yous are awesome” which we have interpreted, since there’s no such word as ‘yous,’ to be ‘ewes’ and assume he is acknowledging the contribution of sheep to the New Zealand economy.
We invited readers to send similar mash-ups of perfectly good language. Thanks to all ewes who sent dem in. Here’s a selection. They’ve all gone into the draw, the T-shirt winners are at the end.

Len Chart: “Congratulations on your very high-quality editing, design, content and presentation of The Weekend Sun. I am glad you don’t spell wowcome and hospitaw the way selected newsreaders pronounce them.

Midnight and noon should not be followed by am or pm as these abbreviations do not apply.
I disapprove of people who use the term ‘one of a kind’ as if it were a compliment. When the term was continually applied to me as a youngster it always meant ‘you are as bad as the rest’. Nowadays people seem to think it means the opposite. I cannot understand how they reach that conclusion.”

Angela Beard, who loves this column, offers:
‘It’ll be a whole nother day, instead of another whole day.”
Rob MacGregor has three favourites: “Your going on tor” and “rain in tha east”.

Christine Giddens: “Reference to ‘The Cook Strait Fairy’ always makes me smile.
And a more recent bastardisation which seems to be creeping into the TV weather broadcasts is of Oamaru. Now it sounds more like ‘Wommaroo’ and as though it belongs ‘over the ditch’.

Mark Whitaker: “Geez Wayne what’s up with ewes?”

Gill Payne: “The most ubiquitous and annoying is:  ‘I brought this at The Warehouse’ and its partner ‘I bought my sister with me’. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!”

Audrey from Katikati: “Don’t people out there know that everythink and nothink end with a G not a K?”


The winners of our Stan “Ewes are Awesome” T-shirts are: Courtney Papuni,for pointing out very rightly, it’s not just English being put through the mangler:

“It made me laugh this morning when you wrote about Stan Walker and his questionable racist bias. Maori deal with that on a daily basis from a very early age. Pakeha/Europeans have absolutely no idea what that feels like and get all up in arms when it happens to them just once in their lives. That makes me laugh! As for my favourite bastardisation of the language, my entry into your funny little competition is WhakaMax! That insults both Maori and Pakeha.
I like reading your column, especially when it inspires debate. I enjoy listening to all languages spoken in their proper tongue.”

Marg O’Brien labels as baabaric the terms ‘ewes guys’ and ‘luv ewes’ bandied around forever in her own extended family.
“A similar linguistic affront my family suffers from is a syndrome called “arksing”! So I decided to arks ewe Brian to arks the readers if arksing is contagious. I arks you Brian, what’s up wiv dat bro?”

Moira: “My choice would have to be ‘Whatsup?’ Is somewhat suggesting that I take a sip or are they asking what is in my drink or do they want one? Loving your column every week. Gives me food for thought and a real good laugh. Oh and I REALLY want my bro’s Tee Shirt, looks choice cuz. Chur. Ewe Take Care too.”

Pete Axelrad, his favourite ‘Ewe-phoneisms’:
“I just love the Kiwi “cult sha”. Such a non sequitur for that classic old English word the Queen has, “culture”. And you can get double the punch if you go to a gallery and get some cult sha looking at all those classic “pick shahs”. (Probably whilst standing next to the chimbly.)
But of particular flair, is the classic term used by that ex’d expert Timothi, and even the esteemed Peter Williams, “the weather will fine up”. Now I understand that you, oh fine editor, once attended journalism school for a week (which will no doubt be where you learnt the finer points of your Rogering) and therefore would possibly have knowledge of the difference between an adjective and a verb. Fine is a very fine word that can be used for many fine things, but it is still, not a verb.”

Thanks, Pete. We will try to remain adjective about this.

Ronnie reports: “I first thought that “ewes fullas” referred to a hermaphroditic sheep but now I think it is in reference to chapter one of ‘The Idiots Guide to the Karma Sutra’. Listen to the TV One weather setting standards in language with “Fung-a-ray, Toe-poor or Toe-rung-a”  along with “Giz-bin or Ork-lind”.  Ewes and the wether the language has been fleeced. C yous.”

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If you agree with me that’s nice, but what I really want to achieve is to make you question the status quo, look between the lines and do your own research. Do not be a passive observer in this game we call life.

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