Even Breaking Bad

We finally decided to watch this series, the best series ever, according to some people we know. Netflix of course. It happened after we finished watching all of Better Call Saul, its prequel, which got a very favourable review in our paper after it had just come out. And of course I couldn’t help noticing a metalinguistic comment in Breaking Bad, the only one so far (down to the end of series 4). There were none in Bettter Call Saul. Or none that I noticed anyway.

It happened when Walt, “Mr White” according to his former science-student-turned-assistant-in-serious-meth-production Jesse Pinkman, corrects his brother-in-law Hank Schrader saying learned (learnt in Amerucan English) when it should be learnéd. This is a well-known shibboleth: as Partridge writes, “the participial adjective learned is pronounced with two syllables” (The Concise Usage and Abusage, 1954, p. 101). There is an entry on learnt/learned in Garner’s Modern American Usage as well ( apologoes to Bryan Garner for citing only the 3rd edition, when this year the 5th has already come out).

So Walt in effect puts down his brother-in-law for being uneducated. Hank is a DEA officer (Drug Enforcement Agency), and gets closer to Walt’s illicit activities with every episode. One more series to go!

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