Speak Palinly

October 5, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I am equally troubled and amused by the extreme beating administered to the English language by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Delivered in her now trademark nasal upper Midwest/Alaskan twang, the Governor regularly mauls the language.  For those who’d like to play along at home, I offer the following advice:

  • Drop the last “g” on all words.  So we get “sayin” rather than “saying,” “playin” instead of “playing” and “slaughertin” (as in English) rather than “slaughtering.”
  • Randomly throw in the words “then” and “also” when you get stuck for something to say and lack any decent transition or connection between disparate thoughts.
  • For good measure, join unrelated thoughts with an “and.”  No-one will notice.
  • Interrupt one talking point when you are halfway through, and veer into another talking point, as a form of free association.  Think about the way that Robin Williams used to give a manic performance while all coked up, only the points needn’t be as connected as his were.
  • Throw in some self-deprecating homespun folksiness.
  • While more an assault on reason than on the language, be sure to throw “maverick” into as many sentences as possible when referring to yourself or your running mate.
  • If anyone challenges you on it, call them an elitist, and say that good grammar and crisp sentences are a luxury of the privileged, with their fancy classes and diagrams.

Those who care deeply about language are both horrified and having a field day.  Kitty Burns Florey in “Diagramming Sarah” in Slate has a wonderful article.  She takes this quote from one of the Couric interviews:

It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where—where do they go?

and diagrams it:

It’s not a great day for the English language, but it’s an even worse day for those of us who think that our leaders should think well, speak clearly, and govern wisely.  Or as Kitty Burns Florey diagrams out for us helpfully from Sarah’s comments on the economy, but with wider application:

Categories: Current Facts · Palin · Palintology
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