Under general remarks of the enumerator in a section of the 1851 Canadian census is a remark that refers to information about a mill that had been built that year. The enumerator wrote “said mill.” Using the term – said – as a link to a specific character or item in fiction is a trend I have noted amongst youthful writers. What I thought of as a subsuming of legal jargon, turns out to be formal and traditional. It appears that language fashion is cyclical.
My generation subsumed the niche language of the coffee house. The next generation subsumed the language of streetwalkers and pimps. Eubonics became part of popular venacular. Rap and hipsterisms now slip lightly from the lips of news anchors and talk show hosts. Language evolves. Or at least the English language evolves.
I mourn the loss of the English of the King James Bible, and Shakespeare’s pentameters. The young hotelier of The Exotic Marigold Hotel used a rich vocabulary that opened him to caricature if not ridicule. Such a shame – his English demonstrated the beauty of the language when spoken well.
When Brits talk about football (soccer) they call a game a match, and the field a pitch. I wrote a promotional piece once about a soccer tour a travel company offered. I was asked to rewrite because I used the language of soccer as spoken by the English, the inventors of the game and some of the most rabid fans in the world. My language was precise and correct, that, however, I was told, would fail to communicate the professionalism of the tour, because the intended audience did not know the language of the game they played.
RIP – the Queen’s English.