Tag Archives: language

Con-trak’-shun RANT!

{And, she rants} 

Found in drafts folder fom a year ago.  I had received several emails about English language stuff (“‘their, they’re and there’ are 3 different words, learn how to use them correctly”) and how we slaughter it (I know I do my share) and I decided to impose my own particular this-irritates-the-crap-out-of-me issue on my readers, just after a meeting I’d had with a young woman trying to get me to spend lots of $$ on her product.  She spoke very childishly, slurrishly (it may not be a word, but she did it), and dare I say it: in a way you should reserve for your grandma or some boy you are trying to get to buy you something.  It was like she was used to being able to use “cuteness” to make the sale and I was just. not. charmed.  At all.


That is a contraction for the words “did not.”  Whether or not a contraction that deletes only one letter, but adds puctuation is necessary or  not is neither here nor there.  At some point, some one decided that a sweet little combo would just hurry things along and so we have the option of making two words one.  You may say “did not” as didn’t.  Didn’t.  Did-n’t = Did-not.

But not the way we hear it way too often now. 

No you dih-unt.

Ok, that was sort of funny.  The first 3000 times your suburban friends attempted the hand-on-hip, head-lurking stance and tried their pasty-white-adaptation of some ethnic sass.  But geez-Louise!  What is going on? 

Toooooooooo many young women have adopted some form of this utter and most aggravating mispronunciation as a part of their I-am-just-so-cute semi-baby talk and when they speak, you hear:

I dih-unt’ know what time it was.  Or  He dih-unt’ tell me where he was going.  Aaaaargggghhhh!

Would you actually say, if you weren’t contracting: “That is unt what I meant”?  Or, “That is unt’ a good thing”? 

No, you wouldn’t. 

<note: wouldn’t = would not>

 “n’t” is not pronounced “unt.”  There is a “D” in there, too.  It’s pronounced “nnnnnnn-t”.  Try it: wouldnnnt.

I am not sure what the appeal of this new, lazier, almost-exclusively female, way of speaking is?  Do they really think it makes them cuter or something?  It doesn’t.  Whatever happened to the art of enunciation?   Well, ok – I don’t know if there ever was an art of enunciation, but I sure as heck remember Mrs. Devlin in our 1st grade reading circle making sure we learned to speak and pronounce our words well.

It reminds me of the scene in You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan’s character is talking about young women {she calls them “stupid 22-year-old girls,”  her words} who only introduce themselves by their first names, “Hi, I’m Jennifer…Hi, I’m Kimberly,”  Meg observing that it makes them seem like a whole generation of” cocktail waitresses.”  [see 2:30 – 2:50 on the Youtube video below] 

Hey there, sister – it was so cute to talk like you were 6 when you were – 6!  Even 7.  But it is time to grow up and speak clearly like the woman you have become.  Put away the cocktail waitress cutesy-ness because it is worn out.  Pronounce your words as they are meant to be pronounced.  Phonate, people, please.  You can do this.  And you’ll move from cuteness to real beauty. 

{Thus endeth the rant}