It's amazing how many people manage to succeed in public life without having 'gotten to grips' with the English language. It seems pretty obvious that the ability to communicate clearly and even cleverly in English is a prerequisite for anybody hoping to get to a position of power and influence. Not so! The former President of the United States of America, George W Bush, has returned to our headlines with the publication of his memoirs, a volume that will no doubt be remembered for what it reveals about this controversial figure rather than its literary value.
George "Dubya" Bush will be remembered for a few things and not all of them flattering. Unfortunately for him, one of the public's lasting memories of him will be of his lack of command of English. Yes, we know, being the president of the USA is one of the world's hardest jobs, but just imagine how much face he could have saved with a good measure of English tuition.
"Bushisms", those embarrassingly inept words and phrases uttered by the last president, even have their own entry on Wikipedia. According to the site: "Bushisms are unconventional words, phrases, pronunciations, malapropisms, and semantic or linguistic errors that have occurred in the public speaking of President of the United States George W. Bush. The term has become part of popular folklore and is often used to caricature the president. Common characteristics include malapropisms, the creation of neologisms, spoonerisms, stunt words and grammatically incorrect subject-verb agreement."
Here's an example: "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" a phrase most people tend to avoid because it makes no sense at all. Yes, that's the world's most powerful leader (at the time) discussing education. No wonder some people think standards are slipping. This coupled with sentences like "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream", besides being incomprehensible, show a fundamental and deep-rooted misunderstanding of grammar, language and the relation that one word shares with the next. These are the kinds of problems an English tutor can help solve.
There's no excuse for sloppy English and certainly not on this scale. We really think that "Dubya" might have benefited from a few sessions with an English Tutor!