In “Pepys’ Diary” we have a perfect record of English “as she was spoke” in cultured circles in the seventeenth century. We think, however, we should have preferred a specimen of the language of the lower classesthe colloquial tongue, so to speak.
In our own city there has grown up a distinct tongue wholly different from anything in Lindley Murray or elsewhere. We should like to have heard the corresponding vernacular of, say, 1870 or 1840 or 1800. Doubtless, the Colonial patois would be even more interesting. For the benefit of posterity we reprint from the “World” a short excerpt which illustrates our point and which, no doubt, will be perfectly incomprehensible to future generations. It is the manner in which one telephone girl, while chewing gum vigorously, expressed herself :
“Soivice is poifectpoifect.
“Course we girls have our troubles, what with fresh guys and cranky dames thinkin’ all you hafta do is listen to them tryin’ to explain why they thought of the wrong number.
“Me give a wrong number? Wheredy get that stuff? The trouble we’ve gotta lotta people in this burg who speak the English langwidge like they was drinkin’ soup. Columbus 8200 sounds like they was callin’ for a cop. They never say ‘Rector,’ like us, but `Wreck-brr.’ Can you blame us?
“Sometimes we hafta handle another p’sition and take an-other girl’s place, makin’ it double work. You can’t see all the lights pop all the time, can you, right away? Why not? You can’t ! And when you get to the call some guy is yellin’ that he’s been waitin’. You’d think I was enjoyin’ myself at a picnic to hear him talk. Ladies is woise.”