09 July 2013

Cultural slippage, again

I don't know whether this qualifies as an "eggcorn" (see explanation here, at JSB), but it's in the same territory as eggcorn and mondegreen. Ray Girvan, polymath author the JSB blog, would be able to tell me; but I bother him too often for illumination as it is, so I'll just be satisfied with enjoying ... whatever it is.
I was reading a piece of creative writing by a student. It was very good; I was thoroughly gripped from beginning to end. Then I came to that end, and found my most delightful piece of mistakenly invented language since "text me if you can" ten years or so ago.
 In the story which this writing told, two young teenaged women (Amy, naive and middle class, Shirelle slightly more streetwise but less so than she thinks, both foolishly courting excitement in the wrong neighbourhood) have just every narrowly escaped attack and probably worse by a gang. Amy has escaped only by abandoning her jacket and handbag.
We stopped, panting and wheezing, under a street light in the rain, by a rusty Vauxhall Viva in front of a racked out burger place. Shirelle bent over, hands on knees, shaking all over.
“Oh, crap ... oh fuckin crap, Amy ... oh crap...”
“I think they've given up”, I ventured, peering nervously up the street into the darkness back the way we'd come.
“I fuckin well hope so. Oh crap. I can't run any more. I've never been so fuckin frightened.” She stood up, shuddering. “Got any shit on you? I need something to calm me down.”
“Sorry”, I shrugged, beginning to quake myself now that we'd stopped, “it was all in my bag. And my phone. I left it all behind.”
She slumped back against the parked car. “Sailor V”, she sighed, “Sailor bloody fuckin V.”
And, in case you're wondering ... no, this young author wasn't knowingly reporting a misunderstanding by Amy or Shirelle. I checked. She really did think that was how you spell “C'est la vie”.

[Addendum, in answer to a concerned reader's perfectly justified question: yes, the author of this fragment did consent to use of her material in this post ... she was amused, not embarrassed, to discover her misunderstanding.] 

No comments: