Let's Speak English
- Page 28 -
It's great fun talking over the wireless. When I first started a few months ago. I thought I had to talk very loudly, as if I were adressing a huge crowd. It's just the opposite. One has to talk as if one was sitting with a girl m an arm-chair. I mean in another arm chair. One has to chat, not make a speech. One has to whisper into the microphone as if one were alone with a girl in a beautiful garden in the moonlight. If only the microphone. weren't so square and ugly! I think they ought to cover it over with a nice pink little celluloid ear so that one could feel as if one were really talking to a beautiful girl in the moonlight.
Alas! we're not supposed to be discussing beautiful girls but the words UGLY, AWKWARD and CLUMSY.
Now UGLY refers only to the appearance of something: an UGLY house or an UGLY painting. A pretty girl can have UGLY hands. But if she's wise, she wears gloves. CLUMSY hands are very different; they may be good-looking hut they're not very skillful. If you're a poultry breeder, you can employ an UGLY person but you shouldn't employ a CLUMSY person to pack eggs, unless you're very fond of omelettes.
A CLUMSY person is the same as an AWKWARD person. But you can also be in an AWKWARD or difficult situation. For example, if you're feeling in high spirits and knock someone's hat off for fun and find he's a plain clothes policeman that's an AWKWARD situation. The Government of Palestine's habitually in an AWKWARD situation. But that's another matter.
We'll now finish with USEFUL and INTERESTING. USEFUL is something which gives a material advantage; while INTERESTING is something which holds the attention.
A Beethoven sonata's INTERESTING but 'it's hardly USEFUL. On the other hand, a cow's USEFUL but, as a friend, not very INTERESTING. It's just because a cow's not so INTERESTING that it makes a very agreeable companion for people with tired minds; for people who want peace and quiet.
Now, if you ve a tired mind it's probably difficult for you to follow these weekly talks of mine.
So the Brighter English League's going to make you a special offer. We'll enclose a free cow with the outline of my next talk.. You can sit with the cow during the week and relax. When your mind's
rested you can listen to me on the following Wednesday. After you've spent a week with a cow you'll find anything I say full of Interest. At the end of this series of talks you can give the cow away to someone as a birthday present. You needn't be afraid of what the neighbours will say; we send out each cow in a plain envelope. Good-night.