Minor British Institutions: Innit

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The Independent Online

Innit's a good thing, innit? There we were, bumbling along in our self-effacing, John Le Mesurier kind of way, finishing our sentences on a limp and dying fall, when along came innit, innit?

There are those who condemn this interrogatory tail ender, this brash new institution, as an ugly interloper into our national conversation, but it's the "n'est-ce pas" English has long lacked.

Innit, as practised by Tinchy Stryder and every other urban youth, is the indicator of an incoming energy from other, refreshing cultures.

It's been fashionable to condemn ending on a questioning rise as evidence of a lack of confidence. But it's the opposite, innit? It's a self-assured demand for attention? An invitation to engage? What you're getting is that democratic, cheerily combative approach which marks Australia, one of the riser's pioneers?

Contrast it, too, with the way politicians seek to deter debate by telling us that something is "the right thing to do". I know which I prefer: simples, innit?