Friday, 28 August 2009

Part three) Why I love Ian, Hate Kelsey, and Why Giles has so many friends

If you have no idea who these people are fear not, I shall explain. One my other pet-hates are the self proclaimed “language Nazis”. I love Ian and miss him dearly because his style of communication was original, flamboyant and unique and he injected variety and spice in every verb, noun and adjective he ever espoused from his lips and best of all he clearly took a genuine pleasure in language that lit up every room he ever frequented. Unfortunately he took issue with my careless use of a split infinitive and to my horror I had to claim ignorance of this grammatical convention.

So I looked it up- it turns out his syntax was wrong and I rebuked him.

It was then I realized I was dead inside. 

I had ceased to enjoy language, merely criticised its usage. I had become one of the self-proclaimed guardians of language that tries to burn away its rich tapestry. These sorts of characters would have killed the likes of Alexander pope, Shakespeare and Wilde who liked to play language games to create new and interesting concepts for us to wrestle with. It is people like Ian who stand in the way of languanges's ability to evolve.

Funnily enough I later found out two things about split infinitives: Firstly that they were invented in a very dubious and misguided attempt to make English more like Latin for completely arbitrary reasons. Secondly split infinitives can be quite beautiful at times, I hope Ian wouldn't have shot Captain Picard for insubordination because he decided "To boldly go" anywhere.

These language fiends with their vice-like attachment to convention, might even be killing our capacity to understand new concepts because they are killing off the language we need in order to understand them. These over-educated-oafs might actually be damaging our intellectual development in a very misguided effort to protect it.

Kelsey is another one for playing these mindless games, “Bath” is the same concept however you pronounce it and one is not better than the other, in the same way that the Queen's English is not better than utterances of a gutter tramp both are unique but equally well adapted forms of communication in the circumstances in which they are utilised. This kind of snobbery is pointless and only seeks to highlight a very illogical attachment to preferred style of speaking and robs us of the capacity to interject the variety of language from which we derive pleasure from and facilitate its evolution into something more precise, grander and more colourful than its previous incarnations.

Some of the sticklers for tradition may argue it is for the sake of clarity, I find this highly amusing, I doubt the journalism world is aflame with debacle created by the misuse of the split infinitive or the pronunciations of the word “Bath” and yet still they persist. Luckily there is hope for us and his name is Giles.

Giles is living testament to the power of language to amuse and entertain. To give you some idea who Giles is, he is basically Phileas Fogg (see how language and identity work both ways?) to the point that I half expect him to be in a top hat and waistcoat flying past my window in a hot air balloon at any moment shouting “Indubitably old chum!” at the top of his voice. Giles, like Ian expresses himself in a fun, interesting and original way, he brings laughter wherever he goes with just the way he approaches language. It's so refreshing and uplifting it makes him impossible not to be liked. Giles like Ian takes real pleasure in language.

It will be no surprise to you that Giles is incredibly popular and will no doubt continue to be so for the foreseeable future- his language skills make him quite the social magnet! Giles ties together all the things I love about language it’s unique yet positive and has variety to it. I think we are all to eager to denounce people who speak in an unconventional and sophisticated way as pretentious or elitist I can assure you Giles is none of these things and all who know him will testify to this. He simply takes pleasure in language.

“Kelsey’s bath is full of grout, But Giles’s style is what it’s all about!”
I love the musical nature of language. Its makes it so easy to remember.

So, I would invite you to cast off the negative incumbency present in the British language and embrace warmer attitude in how we express ourselves to one another. We all know and appreciate those who are great with language and would like to see more of you fall in love with how we communicate, because if that’s how we are, who we are then what better way to facilitate personal development? Most of all like Giles, Ian and myself please readers take pleasure in language.

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