Thursday, January 10, 2008

Non-Fat Language Please!

Every once in a while, language needs the ear of non-native speaker. A person who is more “message oriented” to shake off the fat and go straight for the kill. Today, I was dying to do that as a 30ish lady asked the barista, “You do not happen to have a cup holder sir, would ya?” Make note of the holder sitting in arm’s reach.

Not that I’m letting myself or my fellow non-natives off the hoop too easily. To be honest, when I first lived in Canada (the English speaking one,) I “like” believed the word “like” to be “like” a 100% immigrant invention. Immigrants made it up to buy time until they translated the next thought. When the native speakers stole the invention, it proved its genius. The natives' hastened dialogue could finally be slowed down, and the difficult words spaced out.

So, yeah: Every once in a while, language needs the ear of a non-native speaker. But it wouldn’t happen to need the tongue of a non-native speaker, would it? :P


The Queen said...

I'm sorry. I seem to be missing something. What would you have said in place of what she said? 'Cupholder?', 'Got a cupholder?' Are you suggesting that politeness is an unnecessary use of words? Or are you saying that she spoke when she didn't need to at all because the cupholders were right there and she knew that?

Aysha said...

Politeness is always wonderful. What I was hinting at, is the stretching of language where it is not necessary. "You would not happen to have a cupholder sir, would ya?" Is the use of a negative, questionably, where it is not required because both parties know that the holder rexists. Why not a simple: May I have a cupholder?
Out of many excuses, such as class, artfulness, native speakers of a language sometimes over stretch their speach...