Not water plant!

Sometimes I get the feeling that Pidgin English is sneered at and looked upon as if it was lesser human beings using it. However, I think I know where it comes from and why it has found such a wide spread around the world. My conviction is that it will also continue to spread, since it probably is the superior variation. I have an example for you. The other day the following common every day situation occurred. It happened to be about such a trivial matter as watering plants. My wife has a nice little collection of orchids in the kitchen window. She meant to water them and grabbed a carafe full of water standing on the bench. It’s been standing there for a couple of days since it had to be rinsed and washed out properly due to some sort of very adhesive layer of grime. It was an old red currant schnapps that had been standing too long (since last Christmas). My wife, holding the carafe, then asked me two questions in rapid sequence:

– Can I use this water? Is there washing-up liquid in it?

OK, that’s two questions at once. Very common for my wife (and probably also for other female earthlings). I could see a crap-storm of trouble sweeping upon me, with no more than a millisecond’s advance notice. My wife was literally holding the carafe of water over the plants. If I answered “Yes” (answering her later question) meaning: “Yes, there is washing-up liquid in it” it could be interpreted as “Yes, you can use that water, honey” and the water goes over the plant with washing-up liquid and all, when I would have meant: “Yes, there is washing-up liquid in it, so by all means do not use it!!” If I instead answered “No” meaning: “No, you can not use it, there’s washing-up liquid in it”. That could in turn be interpreted as: “No, there’s no washing-up liquid in it, so go right ahead dear, and water your orchids”. In a split second (thankfully) the answer came to me, and saved the orchids (and therefore also my precious little neck). I answered in great haste: “Not water plant!”

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