Language Is A Tool

This is true. Hence, if something's understandable, it's acceptable (from a strictly communications point of view). More controversial is the idea that if something is used wrongly by enough people, it becomes correct by default. This is also true (Language Is A Meme), but not necessarily a Good Thing.


Like the standards of English syntax and spelling in America Land. Though one should be careful with such assertions, given that it is suspected that in most cases their spelling (and perhaps even pronunciation) are closer to the original English than ours, things like 'aluminum' are just stupid. And the fact that you can have 'sulfur' but not 'Filadelfia'. D'oh.

I've heard tell that in the early nineties, Britain agreed to start using gram (as opposed to gramme) if America Land began using litre (as opposed to liter). I've also heard tell that the Brits managed their half of the bargain. - AM The Americans get round it by selling everything in imperial units, the fluid ounce for preference... sigh... --TL


Another example of Language Is A Meme: apparently a schoolgirl gave her English teacher quite a shock by writing an essay on her holidays... in txt (the SMS language). See <>. Is txt a 'real' language just because everyone uses it? Can American English and French be converging de facto, even if de iure Franglais of any kind, eg 'sandwich', is forbidden?

It is not just that example. Conversations with teachers have shown that a lot of the kids are doing it. What is the scariest is that the teachers are having quite high-level meetings with exam-boards and considering allowing it. This would be a terrible thing to happen. There is no formal definition of what is in here, and it will lead to this nasty, difficult to read, form of writing to spread. It needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

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Mon, 09 Mar 2009 12:49:05 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day