My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Here Go Your Thang

So what has happened to the English language? A group of us were reflecting on this issue when he shared with me a recent occurrence. He and his wife were driving through a fast food restaurant. There was one window to pay, and then another window to receive your purchases. They ordered and then at the first window, they paid with a credit card. They enjoyed conversation in the car while the woman working at the restaurant ran the credit card. Apparently, my friends weren't paying enough attention to her or looked like they were about to pull up because she waved the credit card at them and called, "Hey! Her go your thang!" They said they both nearly burst into laughter at her turn of phrase. "Here go your thang!" (Loosely translated as "Excuse me, sir. Here is your credit card.") I don't even know where to begin with the issues in that statement. Subject verb agreement? Verb choice?

Of course, "Here go your thang" has been the catch phrase between my husband and me all week. He pours me a cup of coffee and calls, "Here go your thang." I hand him his missing tie and quip, "Here go your thang." It's funny, but it's scary, too.

Recently I ordered a burger at a similar establishment when they proclaimed through the crackly speaker, "We ain't got no buns." Well, sounds like a personal problem to me.

But again, the abuse of our language is a major issue. How can we expect young people to speak correctly when they hear this kind of noise pollution all over the place? And when does someone begin saying something like, "Here go your thang"? And doesn't anyone point out the myriad of problems in that phrase, or are they too busy laughing? I can't imagine teachers would allow anyone to speak like that in their classroom, so when does this horrible English kick in? My personal pet peeve is, "Are you done?" aarrrgghhh Even the credit card machine at the grocery store asks if I am 'done' with my signature. Where's the application of the grammar lessons we were all so carefully taught? And I'm certainly not asking for perfection. Note how I began the previous sentence with a conjunction which then, technically, transformed it into a depending clause forcing that phrase into the perilous state of fragment. But it's okay. (See I did it again!). However, "Here Go Your Thang" is NOT okay.

Which brings me to this: what do you do when someone says to you the likes of "Here go your thang"? Do we gently offer a correction, like, "Perhaps you meant to say, "Here's your credit card, sir, and thanks for choosing McDonalds?" If that's the case, I'd never finish all my errands or I might possibly get a spat-upon burger. So what's the solution? I'm thinking of starting a foundation that will purchase a large billboard and give a grammar lesson a week. What do you think? Like ortho, it could change the lives of countless people. Let me know if you'd be willing to contribute to such a cause. I wonder what a billboard costs these days? I would definitely start with "Here go your thang."


Amy G. said...

I am quite amazed at things I hear my students say in the studio. I am not sure which is worse, the language malfunctions or lack of manners. It seems few and far between for me to actually hear someone say "yes, Mam." All I know is that I work on both with my children and will continue as they grow.

To address the billboard: maybe it would be a better service to write a pamphlet and keep copies in the car for such occasions when an alternative response would be more appropriate. Pass them out when you "hear a need."

Sara said...

I Googled "here go your thang" hoping it was a hit song I'd somehow missed. Nope. Your blog entry is the sole item that comes up. Congratulations! You may now exploit it! :)

alison moore said...

Do you remember those DOL (Daily Oral Language) lessons we used to teach in MS? The sentences required the students to locate hidden mistakes. Mostly, they were long, boring sentences that did nothing for my students. As a result, I used to take ACTUAL sentences from the students' papers and use them as DOL. I'm sure you phrase was on my board more than once.

Anonymous said...

I can not stop chuckling at your article! I think the billboard is a great idea. After you translate "Here Go Your Thang", please address any sentence that begins with "We be" as in: "We be fixin to run to da store", "We be jammin", "We be dere in a minute", etc., etc.

Liz said...

I have a few of those I hate, too! "A lot" is up there along with "quote" being used as a noun (my husband got me stuck on that one!)

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