I had just dropped a clanger – again. I called the thing in the corner of the kitchen the “washing-up machine” (I always do) and now the others are dissing me because I am such a linguistic dinosaur. I thought everything was tickety-boo on this front, having recently mastered the use of the word “fam” to address my family. This, it seems, was just a flash in the pan.
It is as cold as a witch’s tit outside, so I just wanted a lazy day and to stay warm inside – the only fly in the ointment being that the curtain-twitcher over the road was watching me intently through the window, so I was of a mind to pull down the blind and do an aimless bit of web surfing. I found an article online originating from the Daily Mirror in which they discovered that 78% of 18 to 50-year-olds were not aware of/never used some of the (to my mind) most exquisite idioms that our rich language is blessed with. What a crying shame to lose some of these gems of English due to… I don’t know what? A language without idioms is as dead as a doornail for those of us who are lovers of descriptive phrases. You may think that it’s a load of old codswallop, but I have to nail my colours to the mast and state openly that I am fighting for their cause and am as keen as mustard to stick up for what would seem to be an endangered species. I sort of knew this was the case, just by interacting with others, and a nod’s as good as a wink, as they say.
So, here is my challenge to you: do you know your onions when it comes to our language? Read this through carefully, spot twenty of the top most-endangered idioms in this piece of writing and Bob’s your uncle. Do you know what they mean or where they came from? I don’t think that any of them are ready for the knacker’s yard and will post the answers and a bit of information in part two of this post… If you want to save a stich in time, just head straight there. But there really is no need to get your knickers in a twist if you struggle – the majority of the people in this age group are the same; it is not a case of putting pearls before swine.
Pip pip for now,