Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Arrogance of Language Illuminated and Dismantled by Stephen Fry...

... He could be a genius.

I stumbled across this with a great laugh. It is one of my many myriads of Hot buttons. :) He just says it with a far more educated eloquence.

I have on occasion been... uhhhh... criticized for my not so infrequent modification of the English language.

It has ALWAYS been my opinion that the ONLY use and purpose for language was to allow one person to communicate with another... as clearly and as accurately as possible. And by 'accurately' I Mean... holding as close to the colors and intentions and beliefs of the speaker/writer as possible; NOT the reader or listener.

While a writer is wasting his time if he puts the words down in a way that makes them indecipherable; the opposite is also true. If he speaks in the voice of the reader, his OWN voice is lost in the mire of political correctness. He must strike that balance to put his meaning across.

However, it is ALSO incumbent on the receiver to place themselves in the proper "Place" to "catch the ball" that the writer has thrown.

If, they repetitively miss the catch, the problem is largely theirs to correct. They need to take the steps to expand their base of knowledge and thereby expand their ability to communicate. The push to grow and expand language cannot only be vested in the hands of writers and speakers. The audience must also invest some effort into the mix. They must stretch their understanding to keep pace.

And just think, What better way is there to expand that base upon which you build your communication... than to Travel? Talking to different people along the way, who hail from widely separated places and cultures... and opposing philosophies?

As you make those journeys keep in mind; Since Words and Language are simply sounds employed to convey the thoughts of the speaker - or writer- and if those sounds or words are assembled in a manner and context that transmits the meaning of those thoughts with clarity and understanding... (assuming the receiver has done their part) than Language has been used correctly.

... and if the receiver has NOT done their part?... then the misuse of language has not been fully the responsibility of the speaker or writer.

Grammar, spelling and societal snob approval of speech and words be damned.

I read in the comments of the following audio essay; "If I be talkin' and you be understandin', then we be communicatin'." -Booker T. Washington ... 'nuff said?

Between Booker T and Stephen Fry... I feel pretty much set free to continue stretching and... uh ... improving the language.

The audio essay I found;

So... with that in mind... I'm back to re-reading the 60,000 words of my newest deliberate abuse of the English language as we know it ;) to prepare for carving out the remaining 1/3 or so yet to be written.

It's a tough job.. Sitting in the shade of the tall trees of Oregon's Jessie Honeyman State park reading my partial manuscript that I emailed to my Kindle. :)

Reading, Studying... and Sharpening my Word Whittler


Donna K said...

I have to admit that the first time my boss said, "Copy me on that" I thought he meant I was to imitate him. Took me a minute to realize that he wanted me to send him a copy of the document I was to write! Good audio essay; I enjoyed watching it.

John Farnsworth said...

Thank you, Brian. Thank you, thank you. I'm grinning from ear to ear.
I agree completely, while admitting to some guilt, especially in the apostrophes department.

martin said...

I agree, he's a genius. Thanks Brian for the great link, and thought-provoking verbiage!
I hereby resolve to drop any lingering pedantry, and enjoy the variety and creativity of word-smiths, word-wrights, and word-wranglers who help improve the vitality and functionality of a living language.