"Excuse my interruption, madam, but I believe that you are a fellow member of my Biology set. Would you do me the great favour of informing me in which room our next lesson is to take place?"
Well, what's wrong with that? It's grammatical, comprehensible, and polite.
Well, yes, you're right, of course: the most obvious thing wrong with it is that the madam in question will give the poor mutt who's speaking a withering look and stalk off.
And that's if she's being restrained.
By someone strong.
Now, the reason such an exchange has come to mind is that I've been told that Sheffield Springs Academy has banned slang from its premises.
That's just really, really, really unnecessary, perverse and stupid.
Yes, of course people are at an advantage if they can speak formal, clear, grammatical English. Such English is essential in some situations, and they are often those in which people earn their crusts.
But saying good morning, Mr Brown. Not the most salubrious morning to a neighbour's nervous infant son; or now, the next item on the agenda is the gift to you of one dozen red roses to the love of your life will not win you friends or influence anyone.
We all need to be multi-lingual. We almost need a different language for every acquaintance.
Two and a half for the Upper Circle, please.
Millwall! Millwall! Millwall!
We might even need several languages for some of our friends.
Sheffield Springs Academy's order to its pupils not to use slang on the premises ignores the gloriously subtle and flexible nature of language.
Oh, but I'd love to hear their football coach conducting a training session.
Word To Use Today: slang. This word appeared in the 1700s and has proved very useful ever since. It was first used by criminals. There's a Norwegian word slengenamm which means nickname, but no one can be sure if it's anything to do with the origin of slang.