December 17, 2007

La langue de préférence

I have a confession to make: English is not my "first" language. I think people are glad to confuse it with other things and use it as an excuse to resist what is told to them. A plain example of this is when they pretend they don't understand you.

The fact, however, have nothing to do with my desire to form sentences with syntax (and omissions) that is correct but outside of what good grammar school books are suggesting. It would all too easy to accept them as a truth about grammar. There is more than a convenience of communication. Grammar teaches people to obey and they feel good when they do because they've been conditioned by school teachers.

If you write a book or article, there are editors and copy-editors. This is different. It's about expression, expedition and being natural, all awkward doings included. I am always amazed by people who begin saying something stupid about language or emotional reaction instead of decoding the knowledge and use it as they please. It's a problem: they're dealing with content and re-arranging tea spoons being deadly serious about an important activity.

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