Press "Enter" to skip to content

About backwater English

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Grammar – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Clay Warren Pseudonymous:

If you delete all the ain’t and cain’ts from your epistles, you leave me with self-indulgent convoluted barristerese, mud without a rock to step on. Don’t flatter yourself that I tried to emulate your style.

I have habitually used backwater English to disassociate myself from the King’s Obfuscatory Highbrow sort of English and the smugly superior colonialist attitude it implies. I’m not making fun of the peasant, I’m becoming the peasant, a sign of respect.

I am going to take a break from this correspondence. one or all of is in on a different frequency. One correspondent thought my reference to “Edisven” was hillbillyese. Clay Warren Pseudonymous thinks I’m making “obvious reference to the wicked witch of the south” but I’m drawing a total blank.

It might have been Hank Williams who wrote the lyric (and lots like it):

I been to Georgia on a fast train, honey,

I wasn’t born no yesterday…

And nobody’s calling him out on the carpet.

One last question: How come all the “Bj√ľni”-bashers seem to be gringos, how is it the Latinos among us aren’t joining the attack on mangled Spanglish? I’d have to guess they’re keeping it as a private joke, the Spaniard’s burden, somewhat outnumbered by the rest of us chingazos.

Yours till that wicked witch identifies itself, say what?

Slim Wolfgebrigtsen

Villa Grove