My wife returned from a week-long visit to England on Saturday with one vocal lament: she misses the richer, more complex language you hear every day in England. She, of course, listens to Radio 4, reads The Guardian and watches BBC Newsnight, not Capitol Radio, The Sun and Coronation Street. But still. She quoted one woman she heard on the radio who was discussing her discovery, relatively late in life, of scuba diving. The wind “wafted” and the water was “turbid”. Two words, the supposition was, that you wouldn’t hear in ordinary discourse even in Berkeley.
Funnily enough, this morning I heard one example that thoroughly confirmed Tracey’s view, and one that demolished it.
Listening to KDFC, the San Francisco classical music station, this morning, I heard the following intro, which must rank as the most dumbed-down ever voiced on a classical station: “He wrote it in 1787 and no one knows why. But we’re glad he did!” That to introduce Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Yikes. (You can get a sense of what a sad classical station KDFC is by their slogan: “Casual, Comfortable, Classical”. But it’s all we have here.) But then I was listening to Michael Krasny on KQED‘s Forum and he described someone’s behavior as eleemosynary. Wow.