Never mind the BBC’s relocation to Salford: it’s the Corporation’s insidious creep Stateside that should concern the people who bankroll it.
Presenter James Naughtie presumably wouldn’t dream of going all guttural and bringing a Gallic idiom to Radio 4’s Today programme, any more than he would start speaking in clipped Teutonic tones and pronouncing every ‘w’ as a ‘v’.
So why on earth did he feel the need to bring America’s bastardised son of spoken English to yesterday’s programme, telling us (at 0824) how the wife of former Liberal leader, Lord David Steel, “snuck off to a tattoo parlour”?
“vb, US and Canadian, not standard,” is how The Collins English Dictionary defines ‘snuck’. ‘Not standard’ being the key part. It doesn’t matter how cool it sounds when they say it on CSI Miami, Mr Naughtie, it has no part in spoken English this side of the Atlantic. Far from sounding hip, you sound like the sad uncle trying to get down with the kids at a family party.
And this in one of the BBC’s flagship news programmes. Does anyone actually fight this particular corner at the Beeb any more, do you suppose, or is modish surrender to Uncle Sam by his unofficial 51st state now seen as just another facet of ’embracing diversity’?
I bow to no man in my fondness for America but if it did to animals what it routinely does to the English language, the country would be on a sex offenders’ register. If he really wants to talk like them, James Naughtie should do us all the courtesy of going back there to work, where he can ‘snuck’, ‘ dove’ and ‘different than’ to his heart’s content.