Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sticklers and the Bliss of Language



What happens when you're both a pedant and in love with the bubble and froth of language?

14 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

Oh, I so wish I had this dude's voice (or a Brit voice in general). Great vid. Thanks for sharing.

Steve Abernathy said...

Fry (Jeeves) rules.

The English Teacher said...

If one is both a pedant and in love with the playfulness of language, then one becomes a writer, a poet, or an English teacher. (And one notices where the punctuation written in the moving script and the words don't match what the speaker is using/saying.)

Actually, I tell my students that there are appropriate times and places for using different types of language. For example, one generally doesn't wear pajamas to the prom. Likewise, it's rather tacky to use textspeak on a formal paper for school. And, coming from the other direction, a tux at the beach would be a bit pompous and out of place, just like very formal language would be if you were talking to kindergarteners.
I don't speak or write the same way for my 13-year-old students as I do with my post-grad colleagues at the university. I don't use the same sentence structure, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, or voice intonation when speaking and writing in the States and in Scotland. Certain things are "wrong" for certain audiences. I can call a mischievous but likable student a "little bugger" to his parents in the US, but I most certainly cannot refer to the kid that way in Scotland. In fact, in Scotland, I cannot even call him a "student," as that connotes he is of university age. I'd have to refer to him as a "pupil."
Am I a stickler for rules? Oh, indeed. Do I sometimes break the rules for effect? You betcha.
Yes, one can do both and still be a logophile.

The English Teacher said...

Typo: "the words that don't match..."

Even a logophile/English teacher messes up now and then. :)

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

That's okay, I'm an editor and I butcher them all the time.

Marsha Sigman said...

I never worry about the little things.

Plus I'm from the south, we pretty much butcher the English language from birth. I do love it though.

lori said...

Oh, how I loved this. Thanks for sharing. I suppose we all have moments on both sides of this coin...

Donna Hole said...

I had to close my eyes and just listen before it was half way through- all that movement made me motion sick - but I got the message.

And Shakespear was pretentions with his "words", but then, you have to look at the era they were written.

Can't dispute the fact that language is powerful. And when the writers are intent on putting the most negative first, it sure makes it hard to complete a reading. MSN and CNN is so overwhelmingly negative I rarely watch/read them. And celebrity reporters only want to tear down our hero's, not make role models.

Is it any wonder I don't read stories with happy endings?

........dhole

Donna Hole said...

Hmm, reading through the comment, maybe closing my eyes made me miss the point . .

.......dhole

Jessica Bell said...

This is great! And I also had a giggle because every time I'm writing one of the characters in the book I'm working on, I think of Steven Fry. AND my character always quotes Oscar Wilde. Very amusing coincidence for me! :o)

D.G. Hudson said...

I consider myself a wordsmith (defined as a skilled user or maker of words), however the skilled part of it should be on a sliding scale depending on what and when I'm writing. I'm a stickler for spelling, it seems to bug me the most.

Our love of language and the thrill of manipulating it for our purposes defines us as writers.

As a practicing editor, Bryan, do you notice anything in particular that writers seem to be doing now as opposed to the recent past?

Travis said...

Should have been in comic sans.

Also, I gave this blog a shout out with a pass-on of the 'irresistibly sweet blog award'. Kinda like a chain letter, but with a promise of attention, and not an unfortunate fate.

magickless.blogspot.com

Matthew MacNish said...

That was some great alliteration using the letter T, especially since he was describing the mechanics of making that sound.

Tantalizing!

Deniz Bevan said...

I love Stephen Fry for being the voice of my linguistic pedantry [g]