Vocablogary

As you may have gathered by now, I am easily irritated.

In general, people can annoy me by carrying out the most simple of daily activities, whether that happens to be talking, walking, driving, eating, or even breathing. For example:

Talking – I don’t like silly voices, certain accents, or meaningless slang words (for example, if you happen to refer to food as ‘scran’, please kindly fuck right off);

Walking – I don’t like people who stop too suddenly in the street (especially when they then turn around and glare at you like you actually wanted to become intimate with their bottom);

Driving – I don’t like people who undertake, overtake a queue (then cut in at the last second), refuse to indicate, park inconsiderately, speed in built-up areas…. Essentially, I don’t like BMW drivers;

Eating – I don’t like it when people eat with their mouth open, chew loudly, or slurp liquid food;

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Breathing – I don’t like people who breathe loudly, as though they are permanently making a mucky phone call, or those who breathe excessively through their nose. I also don’t like racist or homophobic people breathing at all.

I could go on, as the list of irritations I face in every-day life is virtually never-ending, but you get the general idea.

You might assume, therefore, that people mispronouncing words would drive me to the very brink of physical violence; however – rather bizarrely – I not only find this amusing, I have recently begun saying words incorrectly on purpose, just for the poop and laughter of it all.

To be honest, I suspect this is the first sign of my imminent mid-life crisis (you know, aside from the grey hairs, and recent dream I had about buying a convertible Porsche), but unlike the other indicators that I am getting old, I actually relish this one. In fact, the only thing I am looking forward to about getting old, is the opportunity to do and say whatever the hell I like, and others finding it adorable – rather than, well, a bit twatty.

My fondness for mispronunciation all started at Law School, when one of the girls I lived with (there were only two, so don’t go assuming I was the Hugh Heffner of Chester – I wish), made fajitas for her dinner, and pronounced the word:

FADGE–IT–ASS

At the time, this made me chuckle (not least because the girl in question was – and presumably still is – very intelligent indeed), but over time it became an in-joke between my wife and I, to such an extent that we started referring to FADGE-IT-ASS ourselves.

Then, on one occasion many years later, I instinctively – and accidentally – did so in public (whilst shopping in Tesco), and noticed someone stare at me in disbelief, like I was a complete moron. I was about to explain, when I suddenly remembered my own joy at first hearing this mispronunciation of the word, and decided instead to let them savour the moment.

I like to think that they then went home and told their friends and family about the idiot with his FADGE-IT-ASS in Tesco; and word spread from there. Who knows, maybe one day we can persuade sufficient numbers of people that our pronunciation is in fact correct, and then petition the Government (via something like Change.Org), to acknowledge it? Ok, the Mexicans will still probably pronounce it the old-fashioned way, but that’s their prerogative (it is, after all, their word), but they’ll be too preoccupied with Trump and his wall to notice.

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Anyway, in recent years, as the mid-life senility caused by having young children has truly taken hold, I have relished finding new and increasingly ludicrous ways of pronouncing the slightly more exotic words we encounter in modern society.

For example, the recent discovery of quinoa (QUINN-OH-AH), by a Waitrose employee in Chichester*, was a gift, because no fucker in their right mind would assume the correct pronunciation of that word is in fact KEEN-WAH.

(* NB: I may have made this fact up)

You have never experienced true infuriation, until you have repeatedly corrected a pretentious middle-class person in Waitrose, on their use of the word quinoa.

“Erm, I think you’ll find it’s pronounced QUINN-OH-AH, actually”

If you repeat this enough, with sufficient conviction in what you are saying, not only is it tremendous sport, but sometimes you can actually spot the first signs of a nervous twitch begin to develop in their increasingly purple face.

My ultimate aim, is to one day find a middle-class person who I push so far, they actually begin to doubt which of us is correct.

In fact, I hereby challenge each of you – well, the dozen or so who will read this – to mispronounce something in public today (the more ludicrous the better), then gauge people’s reactions. I promise it will be the most fun you have had in ages.

To help you, here are some easy words to destroy in the company of others:

Lasagne: pronounced LAZ-AGG-NAY

Cappuccino: pronounced CAR-PUCK-EE-KNOW

Pistachios: pronounced PISS-TATCH-EE-OSS

Chorizo: pronounced SHORE-EYE-ZOH

Champagne: pronounced SHAM-PAG-NAY

All of the above are good for a bit of light amusement. However, should you be lucky enough to find yourself dining at a Mexican restaurant – or at least somewhere which has Mexican elements to its menu (apart from Mexico itself, it doesn’t work so well there) – this is a veritable smorgasbord of mispronunciation, and is where the real fun starts:

Jalapeños: JALL-APP-AH-NOSS (the trick is to say it like it is a Greek island)

Guacamole: GOO-ACK-A-MOLE

Enchiladas: ON-KILL-ADDERS

Quesadillas: CUE-SAD-ILL-ASS

Chipotle: CHIP-POO-TULL

All washed down with a delightful MODGE-ITT-OH (Mojito).

Should any of you try this, please feel free to let me know how you get on. In fact, if you can actually record the event – and the reactions of your victims – as evidence, even better. I’ll even upload the best ones to my Facebook page.

That’s it for now. Join me next week, when I’ll be explaining how much fun can be gained by sneaking random – and entirely unrelated – words into legal arguments, pretending they are bona fide Latin:

“No doubt you are familiar with the doctrine of Wingardium Leviosa…..”

“We would remind your client that it is their overriding duty to practice Bifidus Digestivum at all times…”

Thanks for reading x

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Go Blog Yourself

You may have noticed that, every once in a while, I have a tendency to swear.

I know that some of my readers aren’t too keen on this, but I wouldn’t swear if I didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain my reasons for occasionally using profanities.

My job

I strongly believe that my job has played a large part in the development of my ‘potty mouth’ in recent years. I have explained before that, thanks to some of the clients, insurance companies and opposition solicitors I am forced to interact with on a daily basis, a large part of my working day is spent dealing with idiots. Even worse, some of them are rude, arrogant, obnoxious idiots. Being subjected to constant abuse in the office, day-in, day-out, will wear even the hardiest of non-swearers down after a while, and I am certainly no exception.

I can support the argument that my job causes me to swear more, by the fact I hear each and every one of my colleagues swear on a daily basis (admittedly some more than others), and our jobs are the one thing we all have in common.

Swearing is a key part of our language

Swearing, whether you like it or not, is part of our language, and I am of the opinion that, every once in a while, a strategically placed curse word can emphasise a sentence or strengthen your point. Swearing, to me, is like seasoning, and I have watched enough Masterchef to know that you should season the shit out of most dishes. If I have learned anything from my many years watching that greasy, frog-faced cretin John Torode, it is that seasoning makes a dish ‘come alive’, and I firmly believe that swearing can do the same to the written word.

Swearing can be funny

As well as being a good way to emphasise your point, swearing can also be funny. I know some people will disagree, but I think swearing can add an element of comedy to a sentence, that other words simply cannot.

If swearing wasn’t funny, comedians wouldn’t swear and, as we all know, nearly every good comedian cusses like a trooper.

Swearing is only offensive if you let it be

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’. That, of course, is utter bollocks, as words can be very hurtful when used in a malicious way, but I would argue that swear words are only offensive if you let them be. They are, after all, just words, and the only reason you might find them offensive, is because society has dictated that you should. You find them shocking because that’s the way you have been educated.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say I will educate my children to swear, obviously not, but certain words have been labelled as offensive over hundreds of years, and we could quite easily find other words as repugnant if history had dictated it that way.

As an example, there are certain body parts that people might take offence to being called (I can think of at least four off the top of my head), but if history had been formed slightly differently, you might now be insulted if I called you a ‘kneecap’, an ‘elbow’, or a ‘stupid little nostril’.

Sometimes, swearing is the only way

Because swear words are such an integral part of our language, sometimes no other words will suffice. You might have noticed that I occasionally write about BMW drivers, or politicians, or Burnley, and I honestly cannot find any feasible way of discussing these topics without swearing. Look, I consider myself to be a moderately well-educated chap, so it’s not that I’m being a Neanderthal who can’t think of another way to describe something, but if you can form a sentence about George Osbourne without swearing, you are a better person than I am.

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So, hopefully we can all now accept that swearing is necessary, useful, and often quite amusing.

The problem I have, however, is that I have found myself swearing more and more in recent years, and this has coincided – entirely accidentally I might add – with becoming a father.

I say ‘entirely accidentally’, but of course we wouldn’t have a high chair, stairgate and thousands of toys if we didn’t have kids, and I therefore wouldn’t stub my big toe at least five times a day, so there are some instances of the boys indirectly causing me to swear, but generally speaking my foul-language is down to other factors, not them.

However, I have already made it clear that even though I consider swear words to be a vital part of our language and communication, I don’t want my sons using them. At least, not yet. If, when he is in his teens, Ollie badly hurts himself and I hear him utter a swear word under his breath, I will most likely excuse that expletive as being in the heat of the moment. It would be hypocritical of me to not.

By the same token, however, if I find out next week that Isaac (who is not yet two) has demanded ‘a fucking biscuit, bitch’ from one of the ladies at nursery, I will inevitably take a harder line – once I have got over the shock of him forming a full sentence without using the words ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’, or ‘Peppa’.

For now, at least, I don’t want the children to be subjected to swearing, and certainly not using swear words themselves. Which is difficult, as they tend to be in or around situations where I will often feel the need to swear – going to the football, driving in the car, walking around the house near to highchairs and stairgates etc. – and so I am increasingly having to stop myself from using bad language when I have the overwhelming urge to.

In the car, for example, I am constantly trying to refer to lunatic Audi and BMW drivers as ‘nincompoops’, ‘numpties’ or ‘plonkers’, when I really want to opt for something far stronger involving their mothers or livestock. I also have to try and remember to call the referee a ‘bum-nugget’, or a ‘stupid little nostril’, when I take one of the boys to County with me. And, worst of all, when I injure myself around the home – which happens on a daily basis – I have to scream in pain whilst uttering nothing worse than a ‘damn it’ or a ‘bleeding heck’. It’s not easy.

Sometimes, only screaming ‘fuckity-shitbags’ will suffice.

So, because I have to curb my swearing at home and in front of the boys, it’s refreshingly liberating to be able to drop the odd naughty word into my blog. You people are like my therapy.

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P.S. – you can stop thinking of rude body parts now.

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