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Her husband would call it poor syntax. I say she can’t talk so good.

April 16th, 2008 · 1 Comment

In a speech yesterday at Haverford College (in Haverford, Pennsylvania), Michelle Obama said:

There’s a lot of people talking about elitism and all of that. But let me tell you who me and Barack are, so you are not confused. Yeah, I went to Princeton and Harvard, but the lens through which I see the world is the lens that I grew up with. I am the product of a working-class upbringing.

Did anyone notice?  Was she speaking poorly in an attempt to engender identification with the “working class?”  Were Princeton and Harvard helpless to teach her simple rules of English grammar?  Should we blame it on the grade school system in which she grew up?

I heard this segment of Michelle Obama’s speech broadcast on MSNBC-TV and it crashed with a !clang! into my ear.  I have a hard time with the idea that a politician (or a politician’s partner) would speak poorly so that people might not think him or her elitist (read: educated), in a possible effort to win votes.  But, maybe I am reading too much into this.  Maybe she just operates with a deficient grammar set.

Tags: language · politics

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Winston Smith // Apr 16, 2008 at 2:58 PM

    You are correct. It burns me to no end when Harvard educated folks use “Yeah” when they clearly mean “Yes”.

    That said, I know who Barack Obama is. He is my new bicycle.

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