Perspective: The English language - innit wonderful

PERSONALLY, I prefer to sit down to the challenge of a cryptic crossword, but I can see the attraction of Scrabble.

Anything involving words interests me. I love English being a living language which grows and changes, but sometimes I am appalled by what is spawned.

This week I gave a little involuntary shudder when I learned that a horrible new word much favoured by the youth of today has been included in the bible for Scrabble players.

“Innit” is among nearly 3,000 additions to the Collins Official Scrabble Words compilation, the tome used to settle many an argument among players of the game.

This example of street slang is particularly grating to my ears but at least I have, unhappily, heard of it. Others, including “thang” and “grrl” are complete mysteries to me.


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Words from the internet, such as “Wiki” and “MySpace”, have also joined the quarter of a million already in the reference work, along with examples from Indian cookery, including keema, alu or aloo, and gobi.

Scrabblers can also now score points with “tik”, “gak” and “tina” which I now discover are slang words for various kinds of illegal drugs.

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Thinking about digestible things which one can possess without fear of arrest, I was delighted to find this week that there is now a perfect excuse for consuming more wine and chocolate.

Jolly good researchers have revealed that ingredients in both might make you brainier.

The magical bits are polyphenols which increase the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, possibly boosting its power, especially in the elderly.

One of those involved in conducting the research said that there is a natural reduction in blood supply around the brain as people get older so anything that increases it should have a positive effect.

That’s good enough for me. As time marches on relentlessly, break out the chocolate bars and crack open the bottles of vino.

British Sandwich Week 2011 begins at the weekend. We Brits chomp our way through more than 11.5 billion sandwiches a year.

I read in publicity about the week that even the French, who have long been critical of Britain’s food culture, are at last realising the merits of le sandwich Angleterre. It is about time. For me, a major disappointment on trips across the Channel is the sandwiche which inevitably turns out to be a length of crusty French bread with an unappetising filling often topped off with melted cheese. I don’t like cheese much. I’m just glad that the French have so much good wine knocking about to wash down their unappealing snacks.

Who should receive my raised glass on Sunday in the first League 2 play-off encounter between Stevenage FC and Accrington Stanley is worrying me.

I should be giving my whole-hearted support to Stevenage which has done wonderfully well of late and is, of course, my local team, but I can’t help recalling that the curiously named Accrington Stanley was one of those sides which caught my imagination – and featured in my collection of football cards – when I first became interested in football in the 1950s.

Perhaps I’d best be diplomatic and say may the best team win, as long as it is Stevenage.

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