Seeing people unable to express themselves coherently is distressing to me. It is cute to see a very small child struggling with language but in adults incoherence is disturbing. Some people’s inability to spell and punctuate properly makes me wonder whether they are inherently stupid or whether their schooling was inadequate.
I think that everyone should know at least one language well. Everyone, that is, who is not mentally handicapped in some way. But many normal people demonstrate that they are either unable or unwilling to write clearly.
Closer to home, I see some comments on this blog which makes me wish that the reader had not bothered to comment. It embarrasses me. I struggle with my policy of not deleting comments unless it is spam or totally abusive.
Language matters. It matters regardless of which language it is. Once I was at a conference where the presenter was mixing Hindi and English. For instance, “ab hamen yeh RED COLOR ko dekhna hai BUT BLUE rang bhi bahut SIGNIFICANT hai. Pur yahan POVERTY kum hotay gaye hai. Jyada say jyada paanch PERCENT hogi…”
I finally lost it. I interrupted the speaker to tell him that he should stop screwing Hindi. It is a perfectly good language with an adequate vocabulary and if he does not know the Hindi words for what he has to say, he better switch to English. Fact was that he did not know English either.
Why the decline in language skills? Is it so or am I imagining it? Are schools failing to teach languages?
Don’t people know that if you don’t have the vocabulary, you cannot think properly? Don’t they know that rather than being at the periphery of our cognitive abilities, language lies at the core?
I believe that it takes effort to express oneself in such a way that one means what one says and vice versa. It takes time and energy. It often takes revisions. It takes care. And it shows.
Reading some of the comments makes me cringe. Like I said, it embarrasses me and I marvel at the writer’s total lack of self-consciousness and willingness to present evidence that he or she is not worth taking seriously.
What says you? Say what you will as this is an open thread.
Rajivspeak is Getting out of Hand. March 2008. You must read this. It’s pretty funny, actually.