It's The Official Language, Buckaroo
Lots of talk lately about "official" languages and whether we need one and whether it's fair that English be the one we pick.
And when I sat down to write this post it was going to be something completely different. It was just going to be a boring yadda-yadda about how we took Casey to the betternarian and the leg is healing.
And then I realised that this post should be as much about how we all use language to our own purpose and how even those of us who have a fairly good grasp of this bastard son of a tongue of Rome and Germania and Kells still morph the language into something else.
Call it Tim W. Lite
Our house has its own distinct langauge that all four members of us understand. It doesn't sound wierd to us, but it's not any English you'd recognise elsewhere. And I'm betting that we're not all that special or unique--that other households do the same thing.
We take the furkids to the betternarian. (He's the dogter who makes them better.) We shop at The Kitty Cat Store. (Food Lion has that big funky cat in the logo.) We give the furkids skyjuice to drink. You know it better as "water".
We have built in bookshelves in the livingroom. Because we keep our onyx chess set there it has become known as "the Chess room."
For eight and a half years we lived in an apartment with one bathroom. When we'd go out if one of us needed to use the facilities as soon as we got home we'd tell the other that we "needed dibs." So now, 7 years later, we live in a house that has three bathrooms. And we still say "I need dibs"--translated: I have to pee really bad.
And on and on and on. There are hundreds of examples of how our small social group has built its own language. I think that's both thrilling and telling. Language lives on its own and can't be stopped. Words turn and melt together like a puddle of crayons in the sun.
Take the word "Buckaroo". It's one of those hearty Western words that reeks of English a la Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty. I can't hear "buckaroo" without imagining a John Wayne swagger. Funnily enough, the word itself is a corruption of the Spanish word vaquero.
I love English. It's like a playground and a candy store. Whether or not we make it the "official" language is beside the point. It's a living thing that won't be held in by regulations.