words I dislike 2

August 30, 2006

Not words this time but stress. Have you noticed how British Airways stewardesses invariably put the stress on auxiliary verbs (‘we will be serving drinks’, ‘we have landed’). Now this use of intonation to convey emphasis normally suggests that you are correcting someone’s misapprehension, i.e. ‘contrary to what you were thinking …’ So why do they suppose I was not trusting them to serve drinks or labouring under the misapprehension that we were 2,000 feet up in the sky when in fact we have landed at Gatwick airport? What they’re really saying is ‘we know what’s going on and you don’t, na,na,na  so there’. Next time I will be tempted to say to one of them ‘I am carrying a bomb and unless you stop talking like that I will let it off.’  Not that there will be a next time a. because I rarely travel by air these days and b. I’d rather go by Air Uzbekistan than British Airways. At least they don’t patronise you.

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