Monday, November 10, 2008

Frying Language

Oh frabjous day. I love it when "someone famous" expresses the same opinion that I've been banging on about here since the dawn of blogtime, especially when that "someone famous" is a linktastic legend. Five quotes almost randomly selected from 5000 words of pure bliss:

1. People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost anything but words these days. Words, it seems belong to other people, anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted or disliked than welcomed. The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious.
Yes. Leave my words alone.

2. the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people’s usage and in which they show off their own superior ‘knowledge’ of how language should be. I hate that, and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I’m on their side.
He's not, and I'm not.

3. There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels and stories [but] Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? ... Do they? I doubt it. They’re too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer’s less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod them to Hades.
My echo - Trussed or Trust.

4. The worst of this sorry bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense and deaf to language development do you have to be?
I call it Consultantspeak

5. I think what offends [us] when confronted with extremely informal, unpunctuated and haywire language is the implication of not caring that underlies it. ... But that is an issue of fitness, of suitability, it has nothing to do with correctness. ... Context, convention and circumstance are all.
Exactly. I actually said context and implied meaning were everything. Close enough.

He even recommends Steven Pinker! The whole blessay is excellent. However, Mr Fry, there is something to be said for conciseness too.

1 comment:

Beth said...

I love all of these quotes! I have long been a proponent of language as something living, something that either resists rules of proves the rules by the often beautiful exceptions. This doesn't always make me popular as a grammar teacher, but I think it's why I love teaching writing to kids so much.