My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Developing our Language

Have you heard and/or seen this speech by Stephen Fry? If not, you need to watch and listen to this video. In it, Stephen Fry talks about the "correct" use of language and how, if you will excuse the term, "grammar Nazis" need to reevaluate their motives.

As an editor, I find this video very interesting. I started to contemplate the difference between cleaning up a manuscript and squashing an author's creativity. It seems that we have entered an era where people are fighting the development of language. Any slip of a comma or misuse of a word is immediately attacked by the mass of the Internet. Everyone is enforcing the idea that the English language needs to be static, that the rules are the rules and that's just the way it is. What if, however, we allowed people to start making up words? I don't mean "YOLO" and "swag", but more along the lines of what many people have done in our past. What if we allowed our language to keep moving forward and develop? Our language is vastly different from the German language it is said to have come from. It has added and subtracted words, meanings, spellings, usages, and other rules as time has gone on. We have stolen from other languages and we have allowed our own words to shift to become other things. You just have to look at the differences between American and British English to see how things have been growing. Instead of fighting this evolution, I think we should try to embrace it and give new words and meanings a try. Who knows where we could end up?

What are your thoughts?

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