Jul 16, 2014

Seriously? Another post about language?

I criticized the excessive use of superlatives in internet conversation the other day, and then I read a couple of posts from a couple of people about language, and then I watched Stephen Fry's grammar video, and then the Weird Al Yankovic grammar video came out, and then I read another post about grammar from someone else, so I guess language has been in the air lately, or at least on some people's minds.

So I've been thinking about it even more than usual lately, wondering why I care so much, why I want the people I care about to care about it, too. I guess I find it frustrating that so many people are content to revert to prehistoric grunts and monosyllables and pictograms instead of using sentences when language is so interesting and (obviously, since expression is its purpose) expressive.

(As an aside, nothing drives me quite so crazy as seeing the word "Want." all on its own like that, followed by the period. Such unadulterated greed and desire. It's as sophisticated as a caveman clubbing a cavewoman over the head and dragging her off to rape her. Which, to be fair, communicates the emotion 100% effectively. I just fucking hate it, both the consumerism and the laziness of it.)  

I honestly don't care about your grammar mistakes. I will notice them, yes, but that is because there is an editor/proofreader in my brain that I am unable to turn off. But unless the content of your writing is clearly that of an idiot, I am not judging you on your misuse of "it's". There are a bunch of formal grammatical errors in this very blog, as a matter of fact. I would be perfectly content never to use "whom" again, and I have a mental block with the past tense of "lie"/"lay" that I seem unable to shake. I found it adorable when my nephew used the phrase "totes jelly" and I knew what he meant when he said it even though when I type it I think that someone is carrying a jar of jam.   

As a language, English is fucking bonkers. It makes no goddamn sense most of the time, and it is changing at an astonishing rate, so to insist on following the rules seems kind of goofy. We can certainly make language simpler and more direct, not to mention easier to type on tiny keyboards when we're in a hurry, by using abbreviations and emoticons. Brevity has its place. But I worry about what we're losing on a deeper level. I love language too much not to fight for it.

This is what I want from communication, even internet communication: honesty and emotion and thought, and maybe even originality every now and then. Maybe not all the time, but not NONE of the time, you know?