WHAT is happening to the English language? I once thought that language was a means of communication by which we could all make ourselves understood.

When I was young I recall a character in the TV series Sam say: “It is not clever to use words that people do not understand”.

Today that does not seem to be true.

Indeed it is politic to use words that people do not understand!

I was in a store the other day and two people were arguing because someone had been referred to as “fat”.

Apparently she should have said “obese”, because to call someone “fat” is offensive. Chambers Dictionary defines “obese” as an adjective meaning “abnormally fat” but perhaps Sir Michael Caine might observe “not a lot of people know that”.

The antonym (opposite!) of fat is “slim”. I myself am small and slim. Should I take offence if I am referred to as such? Or insist that I am referred to as “diminutive” and “ectomorphic”. That is, until more people find out what those words mean, then I should be indignantly offended!

Paul Pickup