Modulo Alphabet Song
Between a Canadian flatmate, a South African study partner and a Canadian professor who talks about Z transforms three hours a week, I’ve been beaten. Outstubborned. De-vernacularized. I’ve started calling zee zed.
It may seem trivial—even mildly advantageous, given that problems with Cs and Zs can get confusing late at night—but it’s a bitter defeat. I have long defended the American use of “zee” based primarily on the fact that “zed” ruins the Alphabet Song, and secondarily on the fact that in principle, all language standards should come from the mouths of giant yellow bird-puppets. If we erode Big Bird’s alphabet hegemony, what’s stopping us from giving complete control over standard English usage to Elmo, or even the meep-meep muppets?
The E-Prime kidz might be happy – neither Elmo nor meep-meep muppets make much use of “to be”. But Yami sad! Yami like zee! Yami go do physics. Meep meep, meep, meep meep.