« A new Menzies steps forth in the colonies | Main | On the origins of Andrew Strauss »

02 December 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Your Lordship has an ally in Dominic Lawson. Not only Westminster, Christ Church product, but also sensibly married to a 2nd Viscount's daughter.

He believes, everyone except your Lordship, the noble Strauss and obviously the Dominic, is boorish and chauvinistic.

I am sure Your Lordship finds Chauvinism as abhorrent as plebianism.

A serious question from a barbarian, my Lord. Why do you say "England ARE winning"? To me as a second language English speaker that sounds wrong. I feel it should be "England IS winning"? Please help.

Dear Viscount,
Here's a little snippet for you.
England's cricketing prowess is directly proportional to the number of players born in Boerland.
Of which there are currently 3, including the esteemed captain, of whom you think so highly.
As to why this is so, I am not entirely sure.
I suspect it would have something to with "cojones", something South African males appear to possess in rather generous portions. Perhaps Darwinia could confirm this?

Oh yes, those enormous cojones have been ever so prominent as South Africa has choked from one cricket tournament to another with comical regularity. Do keep visiting Wikus, old bean - it is rare to find such humour in a South African.

Darwinia, it is common in England to use the plural when referring to sporting teams and clubs. What has Dominic Lawson said? I am unfamiliar with his recent utterances.

Thank you for the explanation my Lord. I accept it is common, but is it correct. What would be the Oxbridge norm? The more gramatically correct?

My Lord,
I believe that there are in fact 4 Boerland natives in the current English side, the aforementioned Strauss included.

Strauss is no Boerland native! Good heavens, the fellow attended Radley and speaks perfect Queen's English. Any traits of brutishness imparted by the locals in his short stay in Africa were surely disposed of the moment he strolled into his Oxfordshire public school and became an English gentleman.

Speaking of the Queen's English, here is a cut-and-paste for you, Darwinia:

In BrE, collective nouns can take either singular (formal agreement) or plural (notional agreement) verb forms, according to whether the emphasis is, respectively, on the body as a whole or on the individual members; compare a committee was appointed… with the committee were unable to agree….[8][9] The term the Government always takes a plural verb in British civil service convention, perhaps to emphasise the principle of collective responsibility[10]. Compare also the following lines of Elvis Costello’s song “Oliver’s Army”: Oliver’s Army are on their way / Oliver’s Army is here to stay. Some of these nouns, for example staff,[11] actually combine with plural verbs most of the time. In AmE, collective nouns are usually singular in construction: the committee was unable to agree… AmE however may use plural pronouns in agreement with collective nouns: the team take their seats, rather than the team takes its seats. The rule of thumb is that a group acting as a unit is considered singular and a group of “individuals acting separately” is considered plural.[12] However, such a sentence would most likely be recast as the team members take their seats. Despite exceptions such as usage in the New York Times, the names of sports teams are usually treated as plurals even if the form of the name is singular.[13] The difference occurs for all nouns of multitude, both general terms such as team and company and proper nouns (for example, where a place name is used to refer to a sports team). For instance, BrE: The Clash are a well-known band; AmE: The Clash is a well-known band.
BrE: Pittsburgh are the champions; AmE: Pittsburgh is the champion.

In other words, Darwinia, if you wish to speak like the Queen, you will do as I do and opt for the plural. If you wish to speak like a Midwestern car salesman, then you will opt for the singular.

thank you so much. This has been bothering me for some time.

I have to point out that ian Botham, boycott and Bubbles speak like you too.

There is no harm in a few cricketing oiks trying to emulate their betters, Dizzy old gel. It is infinitely preferable to the tortured syntax of our couldn't-give-a-monkeys footballers. Even Frank Lampard, who attended (an extremely minor) public school and supposedly boasts an IQ of 180, is prone to the old "we woz robbed".

My Lord

You are right to correct Biggs re Strauss, but he needs correcting on the other supposedly Yappie contingent to the Engand team. Both Trott and Prior are of English parentage, and have made their home here, and Pieterson is 50% English by blood.

What these colonials don't understand is that by blood connection a lot of their chaps are English. Indeed being a colony they exclsively pick misplaced Britons, and in South Africa's case a few decendents of North European protestant nut jobs.

This Barrett fellow playing for Saracens is claimed as a Boer yet his parents are both British. If he gets a chance in England colours one can expect the same boring bleating from the Boers.



North European Protestant nut jobs - that is as fine a description of the Boer as I have ever read!

You are quite right about Pietersen, Barritt & Co. Blood is thicker than water.

The comments to this entry are closed.