Topic “language police”

Stephen Fry on Language

(or, Embracing My Inner Language Geek)

Stephen Fry on LanguageCount me among the people who can't spell their way out of a high school English test. Who the hell thought it was a good idea having both "ible" and "able" as word endings, making both "ie" and "ei" valid letter combinations, or having so many different rules for adding "ing", not of which apply for "skiing"? And we haven't even begun talking grammar!

As an adult I've learned the rules of language are not only fluid and situational, they can often be completely ignored. But given the option of throwing them away I'm forced to admit I don't want to! To my chagrin, I care about language. How else can I explain my emotional investment in thinking the inventor of the dictionary is a skeevy literary fascist (I'm kidding, well, mostly kidding) and the spell checker is a modern marvel of the 20th Century (most emphatically not kidding), or that one of my favourite podcasts is Grammar Girl?

Then along comes Stephen Fry with an elegant, well thought-out position that brings together an unabashed love of language and pragmatic approach to (ignoring) rules. He clearly argues what I've felt: I can simultaneously care about language and tell the language police to take a valium!

I encourage you to check out his "podgram": Language by Stephen Fry

I couldn't find a media player on the page, but this link will load the audio file so you can listen in your web browser:

Tip of the hat to Tom Johnson and his post: The Pleasure of Language - Essential Listening for Hyper-corrective Grammarians.

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