A Rose By Another Name

On October 14, 2009, in Musings, by Sean

I have a daughter whose grammar and spelling I am constantly correcting and it got me to thinking which of us is right. Her attitude is like, whatever dad and I think, that how you say something matters almost as much as what you actually said. I feel one of the great challenges currently afflicting our society is the decline in language and thereby our ability to communicate with any degree of sophistication.
The counter arguement is language has always been fluid and always will be; as such its state at any particular point in time is irrelevant. I feel appreciation of language is at an all time low and that it does matter. Words are at the core of how we communicate with each other; without them much of what constitutes our society would be impossible. By cheapening their value we lessen what we are able to achieve. When “how do you do sir?” becomes “wassup” it won’t be long before our skyscrapers become single story shacks.
Language matters not just because of some grand purpose for the good of society, it is relevant on a personal level as well. So much more than what one is consciously aware of is communicated by your choice of vocabulary. Words can imply status, level of education or intelligence. When someone perpetually drops the F bomb they are not just communicating that they are upset, other opinions are formed as well. “Excuse me sir could I trouble you for some change” is likely to get a different response than “hey man can I bum some change”
Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating some sort of elitist society where we look down our noses at people we consider to be intellectual inferior. I’m just saying that amidst all the lol, bff, u r fun e that permeates so much of contemporary dialogue its important to keep a grasp on the underlining foundation. Its one thing to break the rules when you know what they are, its another altogether when you didn’t even know there were rules to begin with.

 

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