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Unsatisfactory On:2013-05-26 10:00:00

[sings---sort of]
I cannot get any satisfaction.
I cannot obtain any satisfaction.
And I have tried,
      and attempted,
            and endeavoured,
                  and I have striven.
I cannot derive any satisfaction.

Oh, sorry, sorry, it was just that I was singing that in the shower this morning (which, by the bye, answers what I guess is a burning question about my hygiene that I'm sure has been uppermost in all your minds, not to mention being a great reassurance to  my nearest and dearest, especially my nearest) and now I can't get the damned thing out of my head, so here's an essay by way of a good mind wash to follow the body wash.
 And I must admit that my version seemed to lose a lot, not just in its musicality, but more importantly in its translation from the original language. ([sigh] as so many other things seem to.)
And of course that is translation, and a rather strange form of translation at that, because it's not translating one language into another but rather translating the social register of the one language into a different social register of the same language; and while its sense may to a certain extent be carried over, any real meaning is quite lost and while Mr Jagger's original is vibrant and vulgar mine is by comparison pathetically, bathetically standard.
In fact the only good thing to come out of the exercise is that it has finally spurred me to essay on another topic that's been similarly bouncing about in the caverns of my mind for about six months---maybe even more:
Univocal heteroglossia...
Univocal heteroglossia or as it's perhaps easier to understand when thought of as 'a one-voiced tongue-medley', if that's not too disgusting an expression...
Univocal heteroglossia expands, or maybe contracts, Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of heteroglossia, the use of various social dialects of a language in a novel; an "internal stratification" of language as a way for the novelist to present or suggest different points of view. Univocal heteroglossia does so by mashing together a variety of social dialects into the speech of a single speaker, and it's something I didn't realise that I've been doing all my life as you too probably have, and didn't even know it; sort of like Monsieur Jourdain's discovery that he had been speaking prose.
What so rudely shoved this into my head all those months ago, was reading of a political discussion involving an American Football player and some political twit in which said player used some startlingly disparate collocations to refer to his opponent, one of the more repeatable ones being 'a narcissistic fromunda stain'. I advisedly leave the parsing of "fromunda" as an exercise for the student. The footballer used an admixture of the elegant and the profane, the sophisticated and the vulgar, the respectable and the downright @!*&ing awful to great effect. And it's stuck with me until now. But now it and Mr Jagger's lyric have gone , and I'm free and...
Oh! What was a talking about?... Ah! Never mind..
And in possibly related news, after 30 odd years in America (to be strictly, mathematically honest there were 17 odd ones and 16 even ones), and in spite of my  somehow acquiring US citizenship on the way, my accent is not even vaguely mid-Atlantic. I do now say a very few strange foreign things that I never used in the UK, like 'You're welcome' and 'Have a nice day' (though, I suspect, unlike most True Americans I usually, actually mean the last one literally; rather than it being a fixed marker, otherwise totally meaningless, that the conversation is over).
I suspect that I will never ever manage "y'all"
No, instead my accent seems to hover somewhere just off the coast of Britain near, say, the Scilly Isles. But as soon as I think about, as I am now, it immediately snaps back to the middle of the Home Counties in the centre of Britain. I nearly said 'of civilisation', and I definitely exhibit univocal orthoglossia
Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton

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