Sunday, January 26, 2014

Will 'ganderflanking' take off?

The BBC reports that a campaign has been launched to try to get the old English word ganderflanking into the Oxford English Dictionary. It's not a new word, having its origins in Wiltshire, in the UK, apparently. It means "aimless messing around." 

My wrist watch has started ganderflanking since I got it a new battery about a week ago. There was no cleaning done, although the watchmaker claimed that it really needed it - but I'd bought the thing for £15 in Norwich in 2007, and the last thing it needs is any more money spent on it. If it goes, it goes.

But the ganderflanking aspect is that in spite of having nothing more done to it than the replacement of  a battery, it's now decided that every twenty-five minutes to the hour it should beep at me. And at twenty-five to three in the afternoon it should pretend it's reminding me of something by playing its alarm. In order to stop it giving me its alarm warning, I have to push in the button that officially is supposed to be only for setting the time on the watch. It's a sad day when a wristwatch decides it should join a campaign to revive something in the English language.

Back to the actual ganderflanking campaign.  Mervin Grist, Conservator at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre - he's also an artist, writer and performer - originally mentioned the word on the radio in December, and the presenter, Sim Courtie, was much taken with it, so much so that he immediately began campaigning to get the word into the Oxford English Dictionary. A week later it was used in the House of Commons by the South Swindon MP, Robert Buckland.

Whether it gets its rightful place in the OED is a moot point, but in the meantime, it seems a shame that such a delightful word should be lost, and I for one am already doing my bit to give it a new life. 

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