Sunday, 4 October 2009

Language rant by proxy

There is a rant that I used to share with any willing audience when I was an undergraduate student in Calgary, inspired by my burgeoning knowledge of how language works, and how different that is from the opinions spouted by language mavens.

I learned, through the brave confidence of a few close friends, that it was becoming a bit tedious to hear this rant over and over again - despite the inherent and unquestionable validity of its content, of course.

So I am delighted to point you to Gareth's blog, where he has essentially channelled my rant from past years and a continent away. (Though, I confess, I never did come up with as clever and apt an analogy as he does with the clothing thing.)

The basic thesis: issues of right and wrong in language use are, pretty much always, relative.

I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that most linguists would accept Gareth's position as pretty obvious. But there are vast swathes of people (even intelligent people who think about language a lot) who think very differently. Let's hope his lucid prose will sway some of them.

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