Monday, March 24, 2008

My one leg

No not another post about toes - sorry to disappoint. Rather some thoughts on language - or rather slang and grammar rolled into one - since we scriptwriters are often faced with these opposing concerns. On the one hand we (may) pride ourselves on our mastery of correct grammar - while on the other, there's a need to 'demonstrate a good ear for the cadences of whatever* patter' (as a reader once termed it) - write the way people talk.

Like many other places, Kaapstadt has spawned its own variations of familiar phrases. Recently my daughter came back from school talking about 'her one leg' - when she actually meant 'one of her legs'. Or she'll come out with something like; 'I saw this girl blinking her one eye.' Fortunately Cape Town is not populated with one legged Cyclopes. Another local particularity is the use of 'did' not for emphasis but to denote the past tense as in 'he did go to the shop then he did try on a new sock on his one leg.' The dids started to grate and fact I've now banned all use of the word from the house. So I can't even use it in scripts - ah well..

*insert locale/cultural/ethnic variation here


Helen Smith said...

Ooh I really like the 'my one leg'style of speech. I think I'm going to try and incorporate it into my daily conversation - with apologies and thanks to the youth of Kaapstadt.

far away said...


actually I was wondering how it would go if someone really only had one leg -'her one one leg' maybe..

pillock said...

Do you say 'my two leg' if you mean the other one?

far away said...

you are funny Mr P