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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Tue Nov 4th, 2008 9:13am Post subject: Language
Another fine blessay, and a delight to read.
As to the question of 'correct' language and pedantry vs. those who simply enjoy the beauty of it, I cannot agree wholeheartedly that it should be a matter of either...or. In fact, I'm taking the middle ground here. When plowing through students' essays I've often found that a clumsy use of language, grammatical mistakes etc. cloud the meaning of what they want to say and make it difficult for the reader to follow them. Then there are essays that are a delight to read, where correctly used and beautiful language and intelligent content go hand in hand. In my field language is the most important tool and the virtuosity with how you handle that tool can make all the difference.
In daily life I admit there are things that grate on my eyes, things that don't stem from change but ignorance (I'm not talking about misplaced commas or misspellings etc.). And yet I relish language not for its form, but for its beauty - that's why I read Wodehouse, Wilde, Fry, Heine or Mann. In poetry and novels I don't give a toss about form, it's the pure words and sentences I savour.

So how's your approach to language?

PS: The short passage about the search of the first language made me giggle. I once stumbled upon a delightfully bizarre source text where I believe 16th century scholars debated the question what language God spoke in when he said "let there be light". Guess what they came up with: Swedish! (and no, they weren't Scandinavians. I wish I could remember which source it was...)

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Nitro


Member

Posted Wed Nov 5th, 2008 3:37am Post subject: Language
Wonderful blog article by Mr.Fry and I enjoyed reading your response as well Soupy Twist. ( BTW, I just tried to say 'Soupy Twist' ten times very quickly...I dare you to try it yourself. Oh, and let me know how you fared, if you don't feel too embarassed. )

Erm, where'd I leave my nice segue? OK, onwards now!

Mr.Fry's most recent blog entry was a wonderful surprise to come home to after a long day of working in the rain and mud. I am grateful he did not bury his own points too deeply in historic references and the like. The wittiness made me laugh, ( I refuse to admit to 'giggling'! ), and some of the more subtle sentiments, ( yes, I will write this: ), struck a chord so deep I bordered on weeping. And after admiting to that I find I'm also grateful for anonymity.

The pleasure of language. Verily, verily...

Many thanks to Mr.Fry for taking the time to write all that he did on this topic. It was delicious!

Really? Wow.

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IdeaCollector


Member

Posted Wed Nov 5th, 2008 11:27am Post subject: Language
Ahhh structuralism...not just a way of reading sentences.

I find a certain joy in using structuralism to break down poems (considering the atrocity of my own grammar I still find this joy odd).

For some reason I was raised in a school system that stopped teaching grammar and vocabulary very early on which is a source of endless distress for me. But to that end, each new word becomes a personal challenge.

As for how I use language it is rather quick as a means to an end I suppose. I speak extremely quickly with little pause to get through it. But when reading I revel in it. Nabokov most especially...his word play is heaven on earth.

I used to be EternalStudent on these forums until the switch over. So don't get excited..I'm not someone new and exciting. I'm just me :P

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Nitro


Member

Posted Wed Nov 5th, 2008 3:33pm Post subject: Language
Good point ES. I'm so myopic I think of language and writing, kind of abstractly on some level, as the same thing.

The part of his article that really touched me and plucked harded at the sappy senimentalist in me, were these words:

Words are your birthright. Unlike music, painting, dance and raffia work, you don’t have to be taught any part of language or buy any equipment to use it, all the power of it was in you from the moment the head of daddy’s little wiggler fused with the wall of mummy’s little bubble. So if you’ve got it, use it. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t believe it belongs to anyone else, don’t let anyone bully you into believing that there are rules and secrets of grammar and verbal deployment that you are not privy to. Don’t be humiliated by dinosaurs into thinking yourself inferior because you can’t spell broccoli or moccasins. Just let the words fly from your lips and your pen. Give them rhythm and depth and height and silliness. Give them filth and form and noble stupidity. Words are free and all words, light and frothy, firm and sculpted as they may be, bear the history of their passage from lip to lip over thousands of years. How they feel to us now tells us whole stories of our ancestors.

Like many folks, I enjoy writing but if I worry overmuch about structure or grammar or any other rules, my creative energy ebbs a little bit more than I want. I can always go back and edit. And, like many folks I think, my speaking pattern and habits are much different. I'm far more likely to swear, for one, when speaking. X-D Anyway, I know 'pedants' have their place in the world as well but would concur with Mr.Fry that the fundamentalists among them really can suck the joy out of both the highs and lows of human communication.

Really? Wow.

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michael


Member

Posted Thu Nov 6th, 2008 3:57pm Post subject: Language
can't remember where i first heard this...that perfectionism really slays creativity. you'd think great artists to be perfectionists, maybe they are, and are very self-critical, but you can't be both at the same moment.

the brain can't BOTH
a)come up with a great ideas or visions or music
AND
b)put on finishing touches and remove tiny imperfections
at the same time.

like when your drink accidentally goes into your windpipe.

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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Soupy Twist


Member

Posted Thu Nov 6th, 2008 4:13pm Post subject: Language

like when your drink accidentally goes into your windpipe.
X-D

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gadgetgirl


Member

Posted Thu Nov 6th, 2008 8:19pm Post subject: Language
I'm afraid to say I do have a couple of little language foibles: I get very annoyed with the wrong use of loose/lose and their/they're/there. Neither my grammar or my knowledge of language structure are anything to write home about though.

This whole topic reminds me of some of my music lessons where were carefully taught the correct chord progressions to use, but of course the best music breaks all the rules and the musicians we remember are the ones that broke all the conventions of the time (Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky etc.).

That would be me.

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SarahJoyce


Member

Posted Mon Nov 24th, 2008 1:32am Post subject: Language
I can't stand orthographic/lingiustic authoritarians !

I suppose because english is not my first language I have a tendancy to feel that if people can understand my message then what more do they need? (I'm speaking of typos and idiosyncrasies of speech.)

I actually love poetry for the fact that I can disobey so many "rules" and convey things with the words that are pleasing. My thesis is currently a poem awaiting research -it could not be called a proposal even because it's aphoristic with no care to structure.

William Faulkner is to me so great for being free from convention in his work. Mr. Fry has a frank and yet pretty narrative style and considering the forum I'm on I'm sure you all love it too. Though I also tend to imagine his voice when reading his words and that's wonderful to me!

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michael


Member

Posted Mon Nov 24th, 2008 4:52pm Post subject: Language

I actually love poetry for the fact that I can disobey so many "rules" and convey things with the words that are pleasing.


that's a good point! maybe that's why i like it so much? i can't get through novels or anything else lately.

p.s. i really like "the sound and the fury".

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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