July 23, 2012 — Leave a comment

I confess to being flummoxed… and to something else, something that would astound those who know me. I am lost for words, almost.

My day usually starts with a mumbled greeting to my spouse, if we happen to be in the same hemisphere, along the lines of good morning or just plain morning. It is my normal greeting to anyone anytime before noon. After midday my salutation shifts logically to good afternoon or more casually hi. If I know the recipient I might add how are you? And really care about their response.

However a word new to me has been assaulting my senses this last month, a month spent in and around the United Kingdom. It is this word that has left me speechless. How in the name of all the dictionaries in the world does one respond to orrite? How have I reached middle age having lived in numerous places around the globe, been able to meet and greet in various languages, have indeed taught English as a foreign language, and never come across orrite before? I have discerned it is used by both the male and female of the homo sapiens species and, even more strangely, by nearly all ages. Do I dare mention that, in this so-called classless society, the word does not seem to be used by the older generation of the twin-set and pearls brigade or their male counterpart? Apart from them orrite appears to be common parlance.

It can it seems be used as either as a question or answer depending on inflection. It can be used at any time of the day or night. It can be used in any situation. I have of course after careful observation and much eavesdropping determined the meaning but I mean, really, is orrite a word we want to introduce into our babies early lexicon?

The English language is full of strange and unfair rules for the unwary learner, but it is also full of beautiful words that instil in many a love affair with literature and language. I’m all for the development of language, colloquial or otherwise, but I’m also for the advancement of language away from Neanderthal grunts.


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