Writing is a form of expression, as is painting and composing music. No-one has the right to tell artists to paint in a particular way, nor the right to tell composers to compose in a particular way. So don't we have a right to talk and write as we please?In the same breath, pedants bemoan what they believe to be falling standards in schools, and in writing in general, and then deride those who cannot write as well as themselves, calling them "appallingly ignorant". Rather than belittling those who, through no fault of their own, had a seemingly impoverished education, surely a decent response would be one of understanding and sympathy.But perhaps it is the pedants who are appallingly ignorant for failing to see that language cannot be correct or incorrect, right or wrong. As this book proves, to call, say, a split infinitive wrong is about as silly as calling a lampshade dishonest. It is what philosophers call a category mistake. Contrary to what pedants think, English is not going to the dogs. Change is not necessarily for the worse. If it was, English speakers would have lost the ability to communicate centuries ago. Instead English has gone on to become the lingua franca of the world.We need a different, more tolerant, attitude to language, one that respects the innate creativity and lust for novelty that defines Homo sapiens. And one that eradicates the anxiety that many suffer when they have to put pen to paper or give a talk. What this attitude should be is explored in this book.
|Author||Geoffrey R Marnell|