Language is not sacred. Words are not magic. They don’t contain some specific power.
Meaning is power. Intent is power.
Words themselves don’t do anything more than convey that meaning and intent.
So, why do people get all grammar nazi all the time?
I suppose I can be as bad. I tend to hold words to their rigid definitions, and I admit I cringe drastically at chat room acronyms (or “text slang” as you youngins know it). Still, I’m pretty damned barbarous as far as the simple, direct and purposeful mutilation of the English language goes at times.
It makes me feel like Shakespeare.
Yeah, I guess that makes me a bad man and a hypocrite. I’m partly okay with that, but being a hypocrite makes you smell like soap to a dog (dog’s hate the smell of soap), so I have to remedy the situation before Abbey decides that I must be thwarted for the good of all the land.
Thus, I am actively issuing an apology to all of you out there that are barely literate.
I mean, it’s not entirely your fault, right?
Television has basically told us that we’re just supposed to grunt and repeat catchphrases over and over again. That’s the best way to convey our message.
In the age of texting, that means we have to invent our own form of communication because “Gruuuh” sounds exactly like “Gruuuh” when it’s in text format.
You loose the subtlety of inflection there.
That’s why lately, I’ve been wondering why people get so hot and bothered about the butchering of language.
Language is used to convey meaning, nothing more. As long as you can understand the person you are communicating with, you are properly using language.
That is its purpose.
Perhaps it isn’t as fluttering and nuanced as it could be. Perhaps our vernaculars aren’t as poetic as they were 200 years ago.
But that’s the time change.
When Ben Franklin wanted to send a message to President Grover Cleaveland he knew that he had an unlimited amount of space. He also knew that it would take something like 1901 years for the message to reach it’s destination, so he had to be as thorough as possible. This led to the use of ridiculous, flowery texts with excruciating accuracy.
We don’t have that. We have a limit on the number of characters we can use, and we know that the message will basically be reached right now.2
That has lead to our language needing to be more efficient in it’s use.
So yeah, were we could say, “Verily, forsooth, I do look upon the land and see before me the rising fog of men’s souls and chaotic echoes of their hearts,” instead we say, “Traffic, Grandview Triangle.”
I’m not saying it’s better, I’m just saying it’s the way it is. It works, and that makes it okay.
Remember. Language is our bitch, not the other way around.
There is no reason to run from it, and no reason to treat it as sacred.
Words are just words.
1 – Ben Franklin could see the future. That is how he invented both electricity and Celebrity Gossip Columns
2-Unless the battery is dead, or we’re in a tunnel, or I’m just ignoring you.