British parents today face a terrifying new obstacle to understanding their children: JRR Tolkien's Elvish.
Students at Turves Green Boys' Technology College in Birmingham can now avail themselves of courses in the language, which are said to "boost their self-esteem" and "develop some very complex skills", according to special needs co-ordinator Zainab Thorp. "A couple of the boys are very into role-playing games. Knowing Sindarin is useful when giving orders to their Elvish armies," Thorp offers.
God preserve us all. Sindarin is, of course, one of the two dialects of Elvish developed by Tolkien. Quenya is the other, more formal branch - presumably used mostly for Oscar-acceptance speeches.
This initiative will strike fear into Midlands parents' hearts. For starters, their offspring already speak the local - virtually indecipherable - Brummie argot. Add to that the propensity for all modern teenagers to gibber away in an outlandish bastard offspring of the English language - based almost exclusively on the adjective "phat" - and you've got, well, a recipe for confusion.
So, in the spirit of learning, and in order to better arm parents for the coming linguistic ragnarok, we suggest that the correct response to anything other than the Queen's English emitting from a polyglot pubescent's mouth is: Antolle ulua sulrim, usquener. ®