Reading a book about America reminded me of an old friend who described anyone he neither trusted nor liked as “Goddam snakes in the grass”. Usually these were politicians or con men (same thing?) He also included fundamentalists of all kinds; religious leaders, science sceptics, nationalistic fiends, criminals and business men. Though the last group he referred to as “snake oil salesmen”. His was a mixture of slang and language learned In several countries of the world where he’d lived. There were many more phrases he used particular to him or to certain parts of the world. There were some from Jamaica that are heard nowhere else, although fervently imitated by young men in New York, London and who knows where else. I always understood what my friend meant. I use many more evocative words, more ‘not for general public use’ words that he might not have approved of but which he readily understood. Language is after all for communication, no matter how spoken and by whom. There is certainly room for the language purist and in some instances this is a practical use of language but there should never be boundaries drawn solely on how words are spoken. This is dangerous.