For the Love of a Language


General Thoughts / Thursday, January 25th, 2018

 

The English language is a beautiful and terrible thing. It is brusque and seemingly infinite. It is confusing and brilliant. But above all, English is unapologetic.

What I love most about this wonderful language is that it is so confounding that even native speakers sometimes have difficulty with it. We devote time in our curriculum all the way through post graduate level simply to mastering its nuances. And once we think we’ve arrived, suddenly it changes.

And as James Nicoll points out, English has no qualms about simply borrowing (taking) from other languages and adopting it. More so, still, it has no issue assigning multiple meanings to words. Think about it:

The dove dove.

Please film the film so that we may present a film on film.

That was a very novel novel.

Additionally, grammar becomes the fly in the linguistic ointment. None so more obviously than the comma.

Let’s eat Grandma.

Let’s eat, Grandma.

Remember, comma’s save lives.

Of course, these are all points that fluent English speakers more or less ignore. English is simply the language most commonly spoken in this area of the world (I’m in the United States). But, no matter what language, it is language that is the most powerful tool, weapon, bandage, solution. I think if people were to realize just how powerful language is, perhaps the world would be different.

English, as with all languages, is an evolution. If I were going to be a language, I’d want to be English.