General News of Monday, 18 September 2017
Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini has accused NPP communication team member, Nana Kofi Oppong-Damoah of engaging in cyberbullying.
This was after Suhuyini had used the expression “I don’t want to wrestle with pigs in their pen” to turn down an invitation by Nana Damoah to mention an intervention introduced by the erstwhile NDC government that could rival the Free SHS policy.
The ensuing debate triggered a wave of social media discussion on grammar and the otherwise acceptable usage of George Bernard Shaw’s phrase.
The reaction has been mixed with some believing the use of an idiomatic expression in conversations should be treated as such – Idioms. Others were of the opinion that such expressions fall within the remits of context, hence cannot be used in isolation.
Opinions varied on the subtlety required to understand idiomatic expressions in its semantic and linguistic sense.
Some also believe that a general consideration must be made to understand idiomatic speech correctly.
Commenting on the issue in a Facebook post, Journalist Mabel Aku Baneseh expressed the view that in as much as the expression was idiomatic, she wouldn’t tolerate anyone using it on her. “I don’t wrestle with pigs in their pen” is an idiomatic expression; don’t you dare try those lines on me anytime you disagree with me here or offline. I won’t talk to you again if you try it.”
On the other hand, another Journalist and social media activist Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah believes the statement made by the MP was reckless in his capacity as a lawmaker.
A Facebook user with the name Don Billo said “what is the inference if not a purported attempt to rain insult and why ooops sorry if he meant no evil intentions for quoting such figurative expression on that serene argument?
Another twist of the engagement published on political news website Ghananewsonline assumed a political and tribal dimension that inferred Suhuyini had alluded Akan as pigs in a semantic sense of the expression.
Nana Damoah also took to Facebook to express his view on the grammar war that was started on his Facebook wall and said: So now, according to some people, because I felt offended by the metaphorical use of an idiom, comparing my good self (and perhaps people who agree with whatever question I sought to ask) to pigs I have a limited appreciation (facility with) the English language? Or it is those who have been offended as I have been who lack the appreciation of the English language.
But reacting to the said twist of the expression on Accra-based Joy Fm, The Tamale North MP insists that his usage of the age-old idiomatic expression has been misrepresented and his utterance taken out of context.
“I think that anyone worth their salt will not make a fuss over the expression that I used,” he said.
According to him, he said refused to comment on the post Nana Damoah had tagged him because he didn’t want to engage him and described the twist the comment was receiving as cyberbullying.
“I don’t think we should allow this cyber bullying. I call what Nana Damoah did Cyber Bullying. It is important that we all collectively erase the threat that we face with the way we do politics in Ghana,” he added.