Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I posted this on the Edwards blog on Tuesday February 10, then re-posted it on JREG:

Language is a mirror into a people's culture. English is a beautiful language, capable of imparting meaning with a sharpness of a stainless steel blade, yet so wonderful to use for puns, wordplay and nuanced shades of sarcasm. Just look at Edwards, our hero, and the story of his successes in the courtroom, in the Senate, and on the campaign trail. It is his masterful use of language that won him all his battles. When you post something online, it remains in the vast cybersphere forever. I posted some stuff 10 years ago on newsgroups that do not exist any more, yet I can still find my posts using Google. Everything posted online is as good as being published.

Please write your posts keeping this in mind. Use the language you would use in an essay you hope to get an "A" on, or the language you would use to write a letter to your grandmother. And no, it does not need to be absolutely perfect in grammar, punctuation, syntax and style. It is fine if it is written in a conversational style, or peppered with colloquialisms. If people can understand you, they will appreciate your contribution and respond.

Language is something to be loved and used properly. Never butcher your own language - that speaks badly of you, your language, and your people. No need to be a Pushkin. There is no need to have perfect spelling, punctuation etc. I did not, ON PURPOSE, correct my own post exactly to make the point that perfection is not important. And English is not even my mother tongue. But butchering one's own language to the point that nobody can understand what you tried to say is beyond tolerance - it is not a sign of lack of education, but a sign of lack of love for one's own culture of which the language is the most important component. It is extremely worrisome. It is also a sign of disrespect towards people you are trying to communicate to. Being able to write down one's thoughts and re-reading it before hitting "Submit" does not require too much education, is not a sign of elitism of any kind, it is just a sign of good upbringing, thoughfulness and respect to fellow human beings. I hate to bash Children Left Behind - it's not their fault they are uneducated, but I hate even more when someone is just so careless about language.

Language is a weapon sharper than the blade. Keep it clean and sharp. Reverence for and careful use of one's own language is a patriotic duty. Language is the key component of a culture. Careful use of language eliminates ambiguities and prevents misunderstandings. It takes so little effort to prevent sand from falling into the machinery of interpersonal communication and careful and polite use of language is the best lubricant.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:05 PM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink