Sunday, December 05, 2010

Shocking, absolutely shocking

In the print edition of the Washington Post today the "Dear Amy" column features a letter from a 73-year-old man whose teenaged neighbors frequently do things for him - he calls them "friendly and courteous" - but who say "no problem" instead of "you're welcome". He says he doesn't get it and wonders when "no problem" replaced "you're welcome" and how Amy and her readers feel about it. Amy, rightly, says she has no idea when it happened but he should stop worrying and be grateful he's got teenagers being polite and helpful.

All I can think is: zomg, teenagers talk differently from old folks! Stop the presses!

On a more serious note, "you're welcome" is only about a hundred years old. Things like "It was no trouble at all" and "pray think nothing of it" were used before it, and now "no problem" is - not replacing it, but coexisting along with it (and also with "my pleasure"). In another hundred years it'll be some other meaningless ritualistic phrase, and the grumpy geezers of 2100 will be grousing that no one says "no problem" any more.

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3 Comments:

At 10:45 AM, December 05, 2010 Blogger fev had this to say...

And their music, it's just noise.

 
At 11:54 AM, December 05, 2010 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Ridger, I saw the same letter in Amy's column, and experienced the same reaction as you. "No problem" isn't unique to English. After all, there's the long-used "Pas de problème" in French, as well as the related "De nada" in both Spanish and Portuguese.

 
At 10:07 PM, December 09, 2010 Blogger M. Burns had this to say...

Along with:

Kids today don't respect their elders.

There's too much sex and violence on television.

Kids today have no imagination. We created our own fun.

 

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