Monday 22 June 2015

English for UK Metal Detectorists (4)

With reference to a guffawing empty-head making jokes about the Sahara and trifles as a way of deflecting attention from the implications of a post by Heritage Action, they need to go bak to skool and the lesson they had with Mrs Carmichael in third year English about: "Just deserts vs. just desserts". ("Occupation: Semi-retired Feature Writer", works in "Publishing" it says on his profile.) The expression "just deserts" means that which is deserved. It comes from a nowadays little-used meaning of the word desert (" something which is deserved or merited). The term however is still used in moral philosophy. Ignorant metal detectorists who never read any philosophy and at school messed about in English instead of learning will be unfamiliar with that use of the word desert, which is why they think the phrase is spelt as get one's just desserts, but that is an error. Ask your FLO.

LOL, eh? RAOTF M8s.

UPDATE 24th June 2015
As far as I recall John Winter used be an English teacher, so it is remarkable to see him siding with Mr Howland in his assault on the spelling of Nigel Swift ("the Little Whiney one" according to the blogger): "using ‘just desserts’ is much more common than ‘just deserts’ in modern English. John is correct in : what he says and his usage is inline with modern thinking". The fact is that philosophers do a lot more thinking than any metal detectorist and they write "deserts" and not "desserts", and the alternate speling of deserts is not found in any of te many dictionaries in the Barford household. On that account, John Winter is wrong. Furthermore, unlike the metal detectorists which Mr Winter mixes with and patterns his 'modern English' on, philosophers do not use apostrophes to form a plural, or any possessive pronouns, nor do they use "of" as an auxiliary verb, or a question mark to indicate uncertainty in an affirmative statement. Metal detectorists cannot write proper English (and one wonders what the PAS database is going to look like with increasing numbers of tekkie karaoke recorders participating in its compilation).

With regard to his other statement, be it noted that both I and Nigel Swift have been trying to draw attention to the bigger issue (the demise of the PAS from 1st May this year) and it is the metal detectorists who have been the ones to ignore the bigger picture [see update here] in favour of harping over the details of Nigel's spelling - quite falsely. When they grow up, they will realise that they missed the last opportunity to act to save their hobby while they were fooling about calling other people names (Mr Winter, you can treat that as constructive advice).

UPDATE UPDATE 24th June 2015
"LOL, We got a lot of visits today from people following Mr Barford's links" guffaws the attention-seeking old man who runs the blog. The question is, are the people following links from this blog to a tekkie one those who went to school and know that 'just deserts' is spelt with one 's' or two?


David Knell said...

"I see John H has been lambasted by Warsaw Willy for his supposedly mis-use of language. Using ‘just desserts’ is much more common than ‘just deserts’ in modern English. John is correct in what he says and his usage is inline with modern thinking." - John Winter

No, John Winter. No matter how common an ignorant spelling or grammar is, it does not automatically become correct - any more than vacuously inserting a hyphen into 'misuse' or combining 'in' and 'line' into one word when not used as an adjective. Ignorant usage of English is not "modern thinking"; it's just ignorant usage.

I'm not a great stickler for spelling and grammar but there are at least two things that stand out here ...

a) It was John Howland who tried to nitpick Nigel Swift on what Howland thought was a mistake, not the other way round. I suspect it was the same 'John' who didn't have a clue what 'context' is recently. His childish ploy backfired both times. Moral: if Howland wants to be a nitpicking smart-arse, he might want to fire up his brain cell and check his facts first before he ends up as the one with egg on his face and just looking a total numpty.

b) A careless or ignorant attitude to comparatively little things such as spelling and grammar suggests a similar attitude to more important things.

David Knell said...

Not to mention Winter's adverbial form of 'supposed' when used as an adjective. He was an English teacher? Yikes!!!

Paul Barford said...

Well, of course it would be a poor standards of teaching in UK schools which is directly responsible for the poor state of knowledge of their own language among those that leave those schools. So I am not surprised that Mr Winter cannot tell good spelling or grammar from bad.

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