Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Words are little things

Some time ago I mentioned a local mystery. The Kingsway Evangelical Church had suddenly become the Kingsway (large gap) Church on its big name board and its notice board. What was happening, I wondered. Had other Evangelical churches thrown it out for dubious theology or had it revolted?

It's only fair to provide a sequel. It's now the Kingsway Community Church. A nine letter word has replaced the eleven letter one. What change of focus or image does this represent? They don't seem to have a website, or it can't be found easily by keying in the obvious words, but I may run into people who know.

Remember, if you're old and British enough, that scene in The Pink Panther where Peter Sellars as Inspector Clouseau announces with great self-imnportance to a young woman, "I am an officer of the law"? Or rather, he announced in an imitation French accent, "I am an offisaire of the leu!" This last word was pronounced rather as a real Frenchman might pronounce "le". It was famous partly because it came out that the scene had had to be reshot many times because the young woman had to repeat his words wonmderingly with the same pronunciation but kept dissolving in giggles at "leu". Well, Sellars' French accent was not without its critics, but this morning my car radio was featuring French business people criticising new taxes and one, speaking in accented English, said the problem was not so much the level of taxes as the uncertainty created by repeated changes to... the "leu".

Lastly, I take my mother to her GP surgery from time to time and the waiting room features a TV which seems to be running 24-hour news, with the sound on but with the words appearing on the screen for the hard of hearing. However, the transcription is by machine and is not infallible. Last time the item was about the head of British internal security warning about the danger from cyber attacks. Yes, I thought...yes, please...wait...will it...and then it did. Up on the screen came the clear words "Danger of hostile cider attack. Nothing escapes these guardians of our safety.

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