The Joys of Blogging: Polish Grammar
Regular readers will easily recall yesterday's blog entry -- "Father and Son: Adventures in English" -- but just in case not, here it is again:
Saturday, my son En-Uk and I went into an Ediya Coffee shop. He ordered a mushy-looking chocolate drink that smelled of cinnamon.Well, a European non-native speaker of English -- whom I'll refer to by the abbreviation "ENNSE" -- objected to my use of "That have cinnamon in it?" He took upon himself the responsibility of polishing my English usage, and in the comments section of a different blog, where I had also posted my "Father and Son" dialogue, the following exchange (which I've abridged) took place:
"That have cinnamon in it?" I asked.
He nodded, but said nothing.
I looked at some of the 'Konglish' [Korean-influenced English] on the walls and called his attention to a few of the amusing examples. They reminded him of something he said happened.
"A Korean who didn't know much English went into a coffee shop and ordered a coffee with a 시나몬롤 [cinnamon roll]. He bit into the roll and exclaimed, 'Hey! They put 계피 [cinnamon] on it!' So, the next time he went to that coffee shop, he said, 'Give me a 시나몬롤 [cinnamon roll], but without the 계피 [cinnamon].' Funny, huh?"
I agreed, but wondered if the story were true or something he'd read in 마음의소리, an online Korean comic strip that he reads every day.
ENNSE: "That HAS cinnamon in it"? would be better.I guess he worried I might miss his light, clever irony and thus added "sarcasm" to make sure I wouldn't misread.
Me: No, it wouldn't. This is dialogue. The "Does" of "Does that have . . ." often gets dropped in dialogue.
ENNSE: In no context does "That have cinnamon in it?" make grammatical sense. You must speak some sort of pigeon English; too bad you are teaching your son to speak poorly.
Me: I think you mean pidgin English. As for your suggestion - "That has cinnamon in it?" - it carries a connotation of surprise, even disbelief, which was not my meaning.
ENNSE: Nope, I meant pigeon, . . . . as in "dumb as a pigeon" . . . . Its called a play on words.
Me: I think you mean "It's." But perhaps "Its" was another fine pun.
Anyway, . . . you're either invincibly ignorant or stubbornly wrong. Whichever the case, no real progress is made in conversations of this sort.
I'll no longer try to convince you of my position. Others can draw their own conclusions as to who's wrong or right.
ENNSE: So you're content to speak poorly. Well, *good for you! (*SARCASM)
Awfully gracious of the fellow . . .