Are you a language bully?

It sets my teeth on edge when I overhear people at a sandwich bar ordering a panini. However, I don’t ever say anything - I’m a secret language bully, I guess. (Like those secret drinkers who keep bottles of gin and vodka behind the sofa! :-D)

People in Austria often ask me to correct their English, but I never do. If I did, I would be constantly explaining that you have to say ‘for three weeks’ instead of ‘since three weeks’, and ‘I lend him a book’ instead of ‘I borrow him a book’. About five times a week, I would have to correct people’s pronunciation of ‘analyses’ when used as the plural of the noun ‘analysis’. I don’t correct any of these things and I don’t care about them.

On the other hand, when Americans say ‘I could care less’, I see red.

Re: panini

Okay, in Italian it signifies plural, but once it’s borrowed into a new language system, the word just becomes an arbitrary sign. It would sound odd to hyper correct and say “some panini” or “a panin”. We accept calling a cafe a “bistro” even though that’s not even a noun in the source language. “Stadia” or “stadiums” ?

Borrowings play by a different set of rules : )

“I could care less” is a difficult one to ignore.

As is, “I’m smarter ‘then’ you”.


You’re right, for most people it would probably sound a little odd to say “a panino, please” in England. The problem is that my brain was trained to say “un panino, per favore.” So there is a kind of mental glitch, I guess, when I hear something which is “wrong”…

What can I say? My name is Jonathan and I am a (secret) language bully :slight_smile:


Ha, no problem, yea, once the pattern is in in your brain, it sounds wrong even in a difference context. “cRoissant” with an english “R” makes me feel bad too : )