Sometimes a first sergeant or sergeant major will ask his troops “yunnerstand?” and inevitably, the troops only understand that they should respond with “yes.”
We’re not sure what type of water they are putting in their coffee, but some E-8’s and above really mangle certain words or phrases in the English language. If you want to see what troops are usually dealing with, this video compilation of Sgt. Maj. Sixta from “Generation Kill” will certainly help.
Over at Task Purpose, writer Paul Mooney put together a listing of phrases “the diamond” usually screws up. Here are some of those, along with a few of our own:
1. “It would be-who-of-you.”
While “behoove” is actually a real word that means it’s important that you do something, the pronunciation of “be-who-of-you” is totally incorrect, but keeps in line with the language of the first sergeant. Junior troops figure out quickly that it would “be-who-of” them to do a huge number of things.
2. “Yunnerstand that?”
This means “do you understand,” except it’s just a much quicker and terrible way of saying it. This is often tacked onto the end of statements that don’t require any response. But if you’re first sergeant, you want a response to everything you say. Yunnerstand?
First sergeant will often throw this one around during periods he or she is upset, which is basically all the time. Common usage would be something like, “where’s my friggin-daggone radio?” or “get me the friggin-daggone lieutenant on the phone.” Especially in the Marine Corps with most E-8s having previous experience as drill instructors, they learn to replace the profane words with these monstrosities.
They may pronounce it correctly, but they certainly aren’t using it right. Instead of going with the much shorter, easier to say, and more normal word of “use,” some first sergeants tend to complicate their language with utilize. Please, please, make it stop.