A few columns ago I pontificated piously about the vanity of language purists who spoke a lot of twaddle, as opposed to those people who are simply bad with words, but who communicate good sense.
Alas, I find a lot to giggle about when black folks go rampant savaging the language.
My late friend, Daizer Mqhaba, who should have been a comedian had he not decided to dabble in other things, told the story of a fella who was devastated when his girlfriend broke off their engagement.
He came to Daizer to ask how he could go about suing the woman for "promise of the bridge" (breach of promise).
Once, though, I felt spooky when a friend, who had not had too much contact with the classroom, bade me farewell from my sick bed at my home in Evaton. As he left, he bade me farewell: "Rest in peace my mfowethu."
Obviously he meant I should rest peacefully ... but RIP?
Colleague Sello Rabothata had a neighbour named John Dube, who has since died. He loved his ale, this John Dube.
According to Sello, one day, as JD saw life ebb away from his very sick mother, he wept and drunkenly declared: "This is my mother in law gents. Umama wami emthethweni!"
Obviously JD meant "my mother legally". The mother-in-law bit put a whole different spin on it.
Another colleague Monk Nkomo, a jokesmith masquerading as a straight-laced conservative, would probably have advised the lovelorn lad to consult the Anthony General.
Don't ask me where Monk gets these things, but he has oodles of them, and can swear they are not figments of his famously fertile imagination.
I lived for years in Pretoria, and there the folks have developed their own language. For example, they call a pregnancy "bun".
One day, I innocently walked into a shop in Mabopane and asked for a "bun". The lady behind the counter thought I had a corny sense of humour.
She screamed to her colleagues: "Uh, he says he wants a bun." I surmised that she wanted me to say "buns". So I indulged her: "Could I have one buns ..." I got my one buns.
And in Marabastad, still in Pretoria, I chanced upon an obviously drunk black fellow trying to "touch" a white rep doing his rounds in the area.
The white chap was obviously not about to be conned into parting with his money.
The brother clasped his hands respectfully, looking at the rep with a please-help-me-I-am- dying face, tears welling up in his eyes.
He kept on muttering: "Ao my baas, don't throw your hands for me ..." Translated literally into the vernacular, that would make perfect sense. But said in English, it provoked the little devil in me to snigger.
But look at it this way, if white folks can butcher our languages with impunity as is common, surely we too have some license to butcher theirs back.
l The writer is the editor of Sunday World