Sunday, 19 January 2014

I love Philip Ochieng but what's he doing here?

January 19th, 2014 - afternoon and evening
January 20th, 2014 - 0905h, 11:11h

Did you see the Saturday Nation, today?  Look up Philip Ochieng's column, Mark My Words.

Philip Ochieng is a hopeless anglophile, like me. I love and admire him and always read his column when I have paper to hand.  But he recently either fell into a horrifying linguistic trap or was doing some undercover research on how many people care about what he is talking about in such a manner that figuratively could locate him standing dressed scantily on the cliff-edge in a high wind, comfortable as it might have been to grant the accolade he did to Macharia Gaitho.  No doubt MG and the likes of Kwamchetsi Makhoka are superb writers who craft their short essays with spontaneity and Philip is probably the best among the elder Kenyan scribes to qualify such younger writers.

Plus, he's great fun, so I push ahead here only in gentle mockery on his apparent blooper in Saturday's Nation where he says that he would rather Gaitho used the understated English 'e' over the gaping American 'o' in the spelling of adviser (thus: advisor).  This made me realise that I have truly reached a point where I do not notice such things anymore.  I am jaded after a long war with Microsoft on my Word documents trying to get the UK English dictionary, on default setting or not, to work.  But when Philip continues to say that Americans use the 'ce' in both the verb and noun spellings of advise and advice I was alarmed. Now that Microsoft has irreversibly colonised my own mind with their abominable dictionary, 'MS Word' - American in its proclivities by default -  to the point that I have now forgetten why I should not spell surrendered with two 'r's or counseller (or is it counsellor) with two 'l's at the end, Philip's comment could only have aroused my attention because he seemed to have made a gross error in averring* that both the verb and noun in the Americanism are spelt in the same way: - 'advice' (see his article - "In Americanism, the word advice (with a "c") serves both as a noun and as a verb." ):  Was he just trying to be funny or was it a really an Ochiengesque faux pas

Normally Americans koroga'ed nearly every spelling that ends with 'se' in English, for example, epitomize, and eulogize (which we Anglophiles would rather spell with the traditional 's'), yet had to leave alone words like advise and prisePrize enjoys a clear precedent and prevents prise* from being siaga'ed but, strangely enough, they did not put the English 'advise' through the fire and wring it into 'advize' because it obviously looked overdone.  Often their attempts to be revolutionary (as in anti-colonial/ anti-British) enough, too often they seemed to betray such an aberration in their thinking that they had found just cause for reviewing British spelling as a major contribution to the American Revolution.  I am wondering now, how come Philip is like me:  Resistant to American spellings which may now be partially responsible for having ushered the world into The Age of Africa Command (the imperialistic DNA in all this colonisation and revolution being identical).

Nonetheess, the fact is that the American verb for the noun, advice is still 'advise' with the 's',  and the noun alone is spelt with a 'c' and I am hard put to understand how a man of Ochieng's heavyweight literary calibre might have slipped on this or might I have I read the sly man wrong?  Is he testing to see if you and I had honestly read his article?

Let me attempt an explanation on how 'advisor' might have strayed into this morass of spelling anomalies:  The nominal suffix (aka 'affix'), '-or' actually seems to me to be an American extension of is use in legalese, for example in relationships like payor/ payee, counselor/ counselee, abductor/ abductee, lessor/ lessee and, of course, advisor/ advisee though, following the logic Philip uses, why should 'advisee' not stem from 'adviser' with the 'e'?  The answer could be that if you wish 'adviser' (the original spelling) to have legal effect then spell it with an 'o' and, if otherwise and especially when you want to avoid a legal context, use the original.

Interestingly on the first search on the internet one would expect the use of the 'o' to predominate but, indeed, I came up with 'advisee' as a person who meets with Philip's 'adviser' with the first instance of this being at the beginning of the 19th century.   This goes to show that both the English English and the American one are still changing though, I suspect, it is the one on the British Isles that is taking most of the beating at the hands of ugly American self-centredness as epitomised in the early MS Word which does not abide by any respectable rules of logic, not that it took Bill Gates less than nearly two decades to realise his awful goof in terms of the debt Americans owe to UK English. 

Americans should surely use "advize" and "advizor" based on the logic of how they have zeddified (American "zee-ified") almost every other word amenable to such recolonisation...  (Or should I say 'recolonization').  As someone colonised by the Englishman I should rather develop long-term patience with Americans' need to take up space and demand attention than to allow my feathers to be ruffled by their over-confidence in matters of global management, or to have my spelling sullied in any other way around.

Anyway, however you look at the problems that he raises, I must reiterate, I simply love Philip Ochieng.  How would I read the paper without his benignly sharp presence there.  I wish he was eazier to find on the internet (I did that one on purpose).


Does anyone know how to use Buffer profitably?  I want to know more about how "Awesome" might help me raise money for disenfranchised people in Africa.  In this case this family of mother and four children in school just lost their breadwinner, the father, a friend of mine.

I want to help raise some money (about USD.15,000.-) to put in a trust account for the late Edward Wanzala's family - his story is being developed on my blog. any assistance and advice would be appreciated.  Anyone know and can advise me on Buffer?  Would going"Awesome" serve to raise my chances of finding possible well-wishers?

* averring (now why should the Americans not spell that "avering"?)
* prise (and its sister, enterprise - which, to fulfil the craving for perverted purity ought to otherwise be spelt enterprize)
* fulfil [this blogger dictionary demands I write that fulfill]