L. Neil Smith's
Number 284, August 15, 2004

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On The New Anglo-American Alliance: Lets Start Here First
by Alan R. Weiss

Exclusive to TLE

Gentlemen, and Ladies,

We have worked together for so long now in various contexts, I thought it prudent and wise to broach a topic that, if we have agreement, shall yield splendid fruits of understanding, teamwork, and clarity. Who amongst us can resist?

I propose we all set a new English standard on the following English-language words.

I'll start. I grant that "colour" should be spelled as in the French, and humour as such. But in turn, we over on this side of the pond ask that you grant that "kerb" is ridiculous, and change it to "curb" as Divine Providence has ordained. Or at least Webster, of English ancestry, by the way.

"Boot" and "bonnet" are acceptable as synonyms for trunk and hood, especially since colloquial African-American English has given us the delightful "booty" to refer to one's posterior. "Lorrey" must simply go, since it is a mis-spelled girl's name; thus, "truck" makes sense, and will reinforce the manliness of it all.

For this, we agree to resurrect "pram" for a trolley cart, and trolley or tram for the, er, streetcar (thus explaining the origins of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team name ... it was originally Trolley Dodgers, which is what scruffians did in their former homeland of Brooklyn, New York).

Thankfully, "York" need not change to "Yourk", but if you insist we in Texas care not, since we lump it all together as "Yankee", to be scorned and derided at least once a fortnight (a term we agree to use again).

But we only agree to this IF (and we really must insist) you adopt the perfectly suited "y'all". This should not shock you that we ask this, since you've adopted "reckon" so well (and use it more times than a West Texas cowboy driving a 2004 Chevy Suburban 4x4 getting approxinately four miles per dinosaur). Naturally, the superplural "all y'all" will make its way delightfully into your conversation. Let it roll off your tongue, fellows! (Nor should it cause fright that I have mixed Texan with American, since we all know that Texas is just SuperAmerica. Even the "Economist" has said so).

My dear friend L. Neil suggests that "tyre" a bit much. I agree. It is too much like Tyre, a city, or Tyre, a queen, and we are trying to be more manly in this century, aren't we? "Tire" will do, lest you "revert back" to redundancy. He further suggests that one should obtain a "clue", not a "clew", and a "lift" is what one gets when one has inbibed in Sherlock Holmes' favorate vice. On the other hand, we can hardly be pressed to argue this last one, since our "elevator" does not allow for de-elevation (much as there is no "de-lift").

Finally, to wrap this all up and to expand upon our increasing teamwork, we will all agree that no French words should ever creep into modern neologisms. Let them mock Anglo-American Accord by writhing and stretching to avoid our wonderful Turing-Hopper-Cray-Rau-Fisher computer science traditions!

Well, there is one more thing. sigh Yes yes, I know it was painful at one time, but we humbly ask you to again to consider it deeply: the metric system, that most Napoleonic of idiocies, really must go. Consider the glorious Fahrenheit scale! Consider the fine-grained lustre, the glorious gradations in colour, of being able to feel (FEEL, ladies and gentlemen) the subtle difference between 75 degrees F and 76 degrees F. Surely you can feel this in an office environment!

Meters? Its a yard fed too much French pate', unworthy of our usage. An inch makes perfect sense when one consider's one's hands, and so on. And what of Roger Bannister and the 4-Minute Mile! It certainly wasn't "Roger Bannister and the 4-Decatime-Meter", you know. Britannia's glory was there to see back then, and it can be yours again (the U.S.A. is growing weary of Empire, you know ... you did it so much better than us) if you only revert back to your heritage: the English system of measurement!

Submitted for your consideration in the spirit of Anglo-American teamwork and good sportsmanship,

yr. ob. srv,

Alan R. Weiss

P.S: if you agree to the above, and can convince Parliament of such, I shall change my middle name from "Robert" to "Rhys-" just as soon as I find the meaning of the word. Help, anyone? :-)


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