language awareness

To continue my love affair with all things language related, I am starting another blog in the spirit of epeolatry and well-below-zero ice-cream. It may accompany me to lands far off, but perhaps not. It might just stay local.

How aware are we of such things as language and communication? It is said that language is one thing that distinguishes human animals from other animals. The other is planning. We excel at short-term planning, for some it is even a mania, an obsession. Beyond that I’m not sure. Look at the measures in place to ensure political accountability and rational planning for infrastructure for starters. How can we possibly make improvements for future generations when we’re planning for the next five years? When we’re still relying on big oil even though we have insight into the fact that it won’t be around forever?

Language and communication are something we animals take completely and utterly for granted.  I have heard from friends (let it be noted that I have never heard this comment from women) that they wish “language could be more efficient, more objective”. We are not so good at taking the time to explore meaning with each other, instead prioritizing efficiency over efficacy. We make assumptions, misinterpret and read into what’s been said.

In some cases, meaning shifts and changes, just as language does. Do I bemoan the loss of the word “fewer”? No, I am not a prescriptivist. If you are, I encourage you to read on, but you may not like what you find. Language is a living, breathing entity, and to explore it as it hums and whirls is a joy for me.

And the disclaimer? I’m not an academic, nor a linguist. Nor am I a poet (or an alcoholic, for that matter). Once I had a very passionate dream to be a field linguist who worked to document endangered languages. Now I teach ESL. I adore my students and all the clever things they come up with in their interlanguage. My relationship with grammar is just so-so, as in we date from time to time but it’s not a Sunday kind of love.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s