The times ‘they are a changing’

If you can remember how you winced when your mother gave you a spoonful of cod-liver oil, or can remember listening to Mrs Dale sharing her diary with millions, or warming yourself up by a coal fire in a British Rail waiting

room, you are probably round about my age.

Of course, not only times change but language with it.

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For instance, doesn’t it annoy you when established phrases change for no particular reason? And when existing words and phrased take on a different meaning?

Here are a few examples: I mean why has ‘at the moment’ changed to ‘at the minute’ or ‘can I help you’ to ‘are you alright’? I say ‘why do I look unwell?’

Our language is constantly on the move. It wasn’t long ago when ‘coming out’ was the opposite of ‘going in’, when ‘there you go’ was ‘here you are’, when the only plastic most of us carried was a plastic mac, when ‘guys’ was still just a hospital, when the only low prices were the ones you had to bend down to look
at and picking an apple had nothing to do with selecting a computer.

And why oh why has the station suddenly become the train station?

I remember when only the birds twittered and tweeted, when web sites were in the corners of ceilings or cupboards, when PCs maintained law and order and seeing the boss’s secretary on his laptop had quite a different connotation back then as we all know. We all recollect how different it was in those days.

I mean, we all remember when headhunters lived in North Borneo – well, did you know that now most of them occupy offices in Oxford Road.

David Webb

Western Road