Proper Language: The Tool of Understanding and Promoting Peace

I do have an appreciation for idiomatic expressions and local language accents.  They are personal, regional methods of expression.  Since language is a reflection of our minds, these variations in speech inject color and meaning into our speech.

On the other hand, I have come across some real mistakes in speech and, after my laughing subsided, I decided to share these repeated errors with you.

This first one occurs frequently.  When one person is relating a story about another person loaning them money or any other item, they often use the phrase, “He borrowed me money”.  No, no!  It should be “He loaned me money” or “I borrowed some money”.  This is not an idiomatic expression: it is incorrect English.

And puh-leese —- with the overuse of the word “basically”, you would think that we are so damn basic that we have returned to the primordial soup from whence we came.

Secondly, mispronunciations are also examples of massacred speech.  The practice of using soft sounds instead of the correct, harder sounds demonstrates a tendency towards language laziness, and this pronunciation laziness implies mental, intellectual laziness.   Instead of saying “I supposedly thought, etc.”, a speaker will say “I supposably thought…”.  I guess substituting the “p” with a “b” is easier to say, being a much softer sound.  Other examples of lazy English pronunciation are “prolly” for “probably” and “bidness” for “business.”  Sorry: no brownie points for chickening out of the English language.

Another mispronunciation involves the phrase “et cetera”.  We all know the common abbreviation for this term is “etc”.  However, many people (dyslexic?) think this shortened version is “ect.”.  Thus, when they pronounce the word, they spit out “ec cetera”, making the first “c” have a hard “k” sound.  The word is not eK cetera, but rather, eT cetera.

The Queen of Language Decimation is still Sarah Palin.  Her speech is not a reflection of regional idioms or accents, but rather it is usually a reflection of her ignorance.  You can tell this is so because her utterances do not make any sense. Meaning and communication are the gold standards for acceptable speech.  It is fine and dandy for speech to be local and colorful, but it must ultimately convey an idea.  Her sentence structure is still nonexistent and she consistently takes nouns and turns them into verb forms or transforms verbs into other parts of speech.  When commenting on the trial of the young man who hacked into her computer during the campaign, she emphasized the importance of punishment for this fellow by hacking the English language, turning a noun into an adjective:

While testifying in court today, Sarah Palin came up with a brand new excuse for the losing the 2008 election to Barack Obama. Palin stated under oath that the hacking of her email account cost her and that guy John McCain the election. She said, “I don’t think an illegal action like this is a prank. Not when you consider how impacting it was on a presidential election. It went beyond a prank.”

It has been my experience that a wisdom tooth can be impacted, but not impacting.  Thus, how in all Tarnation can a presidential campaign and Sarah Palin’s life be “impacting”?   No way.   This language usage of Palin is not even an idiomatic expression; rather, it is an idiotic expression, emblematic of her confused, ignorant, untrained and lazy mind.

Even a member of Palin’s own Republican clan, Rep. Bob Inglis, has spoken out on her lack of leadership skills resulting from her use of demagoguery:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/09/inglis-goes-after-palin-lowest-form-of-political-leadership/?fbid=GLZbSVJ46Aq#more-112469

The latest news on Palin is that she is writing an autobiography aimed at nine- to twelve-year-olds.  I certainly hope she had good editors to ensure the book demonstrates proper grammar.  I guess Palin thinks that these young kids are a perfect audience for her lack of intellectual rigor.  Big mistake.  Pity the children!

On the other side of the coin, take James Carville.  Yes, he is a man, often times a real blow-hard, with a strong, regional dialect.  However, no matter how outrageous his speech is at times, his syntax is intact, he gives proper attention to correct pronunciation and thus, the meaning he wishes to convey is also intact.  I assume the reason for Carville’s proper speech is due to his wide and deep reading activities, something that I doubt Palin has engaged in.

The politics of fear, propelled by ignorance, are no substitute for reason and knowledge.  Palin’s language is a mess because her mind is a mess.  The GOP’s strategy is aimless because their chatter is devoid of any substance.  Language is important because it is our best shot at communication, and communication is the most basic building block of understanding and peace.

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4 Responses to “Proper Language: The Tool of Understanding and Promoting Peace”

  1. lou Says:

    “be clear, concise, correct” RIP Bob Sheppard. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/sports/baseball/12sandomir.html?th&emc=th

  2. EGR Says:

    how about the dreaded “axed” instead of “asked?” And in merry olde England, it’s lend as a verb and loan as a noun – here in the colonies, either is fine.

    Oh, and how about “Flaw-rida” and “aw-range” as used in LaLa land(and other points west) instead of the (correct?) Flah-rida” and “ah-range.” And I live with 2 valley girls, yet!

  3. EGR Says:

    me again – how about fun, funner and funnest! Fun is a NOUN people! I had the most fun time (not the funnest time) writing this comment.

  4. NatalieR Says:

    I am a stickler for proper syntax, grammar and speech. The mode of expression I think I loath more than any other is the so called “Valley Girl” speak. The word “like” is thrown into a sentence more than salt and pepper are thrown into spaghetti sauce. “Like it was totally this or that.” “I said to her like blah blah blah blah.” It’s HORRIBLE! What is that a substitute for? Perhaps like is used instead of a pause or “Uh or UM” I’d rather one be silent than use the word “like.” That being said, English is a difficult language. To me, it makes sense but to some it makes no sense. How often does one (yes “one” instead of “you”) hear “I coulda went” instead of “I could have gone” or “Him and me went to the store” instead of He and I went to the store OR me and Lassie went to the vet. Proper grammar always puts the other person first and the sentence writer or speaker second so it SHOULD be Lassie and I went to the vet. There is, too, little knowledge of cases i.e. the difference between the subjective and objective case. I gave the gift to HIM and NOT to he. “Him” is the objective case and pronouns usually take the objective case. “I” is always the subjective case. “I go to the store” Mari and I went out to eat. ME is the objective case often the object of a preposition. He gave the present to ME.

    The grammatical, syntactic and punctuation fracturers of the English language in writing or speech, to me, are like fingernails on a black board. It is blatant, annoying and says something about the speaker or the writer. I pick up on it instantly. How have our schools erred SO badly (not bad but badly as it answers the adverbial question how)? When using verbs of feeling such as I feel bad about something, the correct word is “bad.” If one says I feel badly then it means that their sense of touch is out of whack!

    Axed is OUTRAGEOUS to say instead of asked. When someone says that I want to take out an ax and say SEE THIS IS WHAT AN AX IS. You can cut down a tree with it. It is NOT the verb to ASK!

    If I were interviewing someone for a job how WELL (not good) they speak in addition to the content of what they say would be the two most important yardsticks I would use when deciding to hire them. Perhaps, I might even say that the correct grammatical phraseology they use would be the first thing I notice.

    Interview someone on the street and ask them to say something in multiple sentences. I am often AMAZED at what grammatically poor English they use and how little people know. It, I think, tells one something about the nature of our culture and it AIN’T — oops — it ISN’T good!

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