Wednesday, May 16, 2001
Australia’s second largest insurer, HIH, has collapsed leaving the government to bailout thousands of stranded policyholders.
An editorial in one of the papers picked up on this, pointing out that “companies want to privatise profits and nationalize losses”.
And on the sidelines of this latest economic debacle, a linguistic debacle is taking place with certain electronic media journalists, commentators and members of the public mispronouncing aitch as “haitch” (and HIH is practically all aitches - not since Hubert Horatio Humphrey, aka HHH, have Australians had it so tough).
But at least, they’re using the aitch, which isn’t always the case in Australian English – asked by a member of the public what he intended to do about “‘ousing”, Robert Menzies, famously replied “put an aitch in a front of it”.
How Marie Antoinette-esque – “Prime Minister, the people have no ‘ousing”, “let them say ‘aitch’”.
Typical of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, an Australian Prime Minister (1939-1941, 1949-1966) who claimed to be “British down to my boot heels”.