mandag 25. juli 2016

Some thoughts about language policing

I think there is a lot of language policing around: wanting to arrest other's words, language, because their expressions do not suit one's own policy. It is amazing humans can even speak! Not everyone has verbal language. To have a verbal language can in many ways be seen as a luxury. I wish the Language Police could think more about this - that the words, the language that it wants to arrest might be the- or one of the most important links to humanity for this one person. Too much of this too little of that - for whom? A language that does not suit one person can suit someone else. I am not talking about verbal bullying/psychological terror here (- or maybe I am, as the Language Police has its psychologically abusive sides, too). I am talking about all these ways of saying: -Don't use that term, use this instead. -Your language is too academic, your language is too little academic. -You use too many strange words. - You describe your own situation, yourself, with terms that I would not prefer. Why do people try to disturb and interfer with eachothers ways of expressing themselves so much? OK, people can have problems understanding eachother when they live on different language planets, but with a mutual willingness to communicate and ask for clarification when needed, much good dialogue is still possible. And sometimes dialogue may not be possible or something one wishes for either.

Of course there are contexts where - at least the idea of - a 'common ground language' is relevant and important to aim at. My main point is: I think it would be good to replace many projects of narrowing in verbality with more appreciation of the multitude of verbal expressiveness. In my view it is clear that societies benefit from a rich variation of expressions - including in the verbal domain. Orwell's nightmare scenario with the newspeak based on extreme language- and thought policing is, as a contrast to this, not unrealistic -or even unreal. I think that a basic mutual respect and a motivation to listen in to eachother usually is generally a much better foundation for good and dynamic dialogue and exchange of ideas, knowledge, than language policing which, if "successful" in praxis ends up with the opposite: a rigid, fearful, sensored communication style dominated by rules about 'correct' and 'incorrect' language and implicitly 'correct'/'incorrect' opinions and ways of understanding reality. I post this - just as a small verbal water drop into the world - fully aware there are many more aspects to this. Much more to say.

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