i want my u’s arghhh

I thought about naming the post, “The Perils of Writing in American English”, but I think the above title, “i want my u’s arghhh” is very appropriate in showing the frustration that rises up in the situation I’m talking about. Let us just jump right in (like how Nigerian kids learn how to swim).

Because of years of mental torture and blackmail that Microsoft is the greatest thing ever, my default program to use when typing is Microsoft Word. And I’m not slamming Microsoft Word or Microsoft itself, it is quite useful. I still use it for homework and things that are on that level of seriousness. I don’t know why, but when I open a Microsoft Word document, I just assume that whatever the document is about, is important. So for less important things, I open those little text documents/notepads and they satisfy most of my typing needs.

My default language on Microsoft Word is English Language (United States). I really have no idea why. When I started on Microsoft Word I was just fascinated that there were so many different English languages. The only language I can speak is English. People always say it’s good to know multiple languages. There are 16 different English Languages on Microsoft Word. So to me, I can speak 16 different languages. But of all sixteen, I liked English Language (United States), because I liked United States. To me back then, there were only two options. Why would I pick English Language (Zimbabwe) or English Language (South Africa) when I could be English Language (United Kingdom) or English Language (United States). Now I wish I was English Language (Zimbabwe), just for the fun of it. But I’ve been with the US for many words of my typing life. And generally I have no problems with it. Except one.

This. labour

I went to a secondary school school that taught the British curriculum. So my English was styled after my colonial masters. I got used to it and I kind of liked it, much like the mirrors my ancestors liked back in the day. Now skip a few years, because of my Writing and Rhetoric classes, my adult self is at peace with English Language (United States). I’m going to college in the US, I should get used to writing in the format that will be expected of me. And I have accepted most of it. Except for taking my u’s away. What did ‘u’ ever do to anyone? Without the u, colors just don’t seem as colourful. Labor doesn’t come across as cumbersome. And I don’t feel the love/affection in favorite.

I’m imagining a meeting with all the badass American leaders back in the day. The discussion is centered (you see I’m even willing to compromise here) around how the Americans can distinguish their language from the British. Boos fill the room when someone says ‘the British’. So the mood is pretty hostile. Obviously the English language, which is completely full of contradictions, will be fixed. Surely. Someone brings up the issue of ‘teachers who taught’. “Shouldn’t preachers praught?” he declared. People began to mutter around the room, but soon it dies out. Not a big enough issue. Someone else brought up that fought is the past tense of fight, but lit is the past tense of light. More muttering. But once again, it dies out. Then someone says, “Why don’t we scrap the u’s from some words?” “Yeah!”, the people chorused. “We don’t need u’s in colour, or favourite, or labour.” “We’ll show those pretentious British people what a language really is.” And just like that, meeting adjourned.

In all seriousness, can someone help me out? Which oga at the top do I need to talk to? Please explain why the ‘u’s were cut out. I beg of you, America, reinstate the ‘u’, ‘u’ won’t regret it.

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