Do wot mate?

Re-reading Stella Gibbons’s masterly Cold Comfort Farm, I was struck by the richness, not to say  ‘foreignness’ – of the English spoken down in darkest Sussex:

Gibbons is enjoying herself! Nevertheless, it seems likely that the English she captures was actually prevalent in parts of rural England as recently as the ’30s (when the story is set). I think it extremely unlikely that much of it survives today, after nearly a century of the levelling powers of radio and, more particularly, television.

Arguably communication will be the gainer – clarity and character are often, sadly, at odds – but it does seem rather a shame. You can’t help but wonder how much regional dialect will survive, say another century, or whether we will all, by 2120, be conversing (if not in Mandarin) in a flavourless if functional mid-Atlantic commodity-English. Or, to put it another way, American.

(Staggering typo-count, in passing – three in just that one para, for example – so much so, that I was moved to make a little YouTube vid about it.)

Come again?

This is getting to be a habit: coming across ads whose promise is entirely hidden from me.

I could google, of course, and find out what a 3D scan is (for starters), but as it stands the only message this banner conveys to me is my own cultural obsolescence. Oh well, whatever a 3D scan is, I’m pretty sure I don’t need one, and I’m sure the assets will continue to trend with or without my comprehension.

Nasty, brutish and short

Stella Gibbons, in her intro to Cold Comfort Farm (highly recommended, by the by, if you feel you could use a bit of cheering up in these days of gloom):

Must confess I do tend to focus on saying exactly what needs saying in short sentences. Then again, business copy is pretty much journalism-in-spades by Gibbons’s definition: words with a job to do.

Say what?

No great originality in grumbling about inflated/nonsensical job titles – standard issue grump – but I was struck by the sign off on a recent letter from my pension provider:

What did whoever came up with that lulu even imagine they meant by it? ‘Insurance Customer Delivery’? This is a pension, not insurance. And where does delivery come into it? Are they delivering customers now? Where to? It’s palpable nonsense, and indicative of a level of intelligence and imagination I for one am a tad dismayed to find in the company supposedly looking out for my future finances.

Does it matter? Not much, probably. To quote ‘er indores, “You’re probably the only person who’d even notice.” Maybe she’s right. But I can’t help feeling that smart companies should watch their words no less carefully than they look after their customers’ money. People might think they don’t know what they’re on about – not a good look, whatever business you’re in.

Ad confusium

Like anyone else I rely on adblockers to keep my screen mostly clear, but they come up on my phone. What a shambles. First, from the land that design forgot…

I’m no designer, but that’s just shameful.

Next up, illiteracy:

How can you read just a dozen words and fail to realise something’s horribly awry?

Last but not least:

What is on offer? I really haven’t a clue – have you?