love English. I am thankful that it is my primary language (like I know any others!). But English is a beautiful language to write in. The rules are loose. You can make up words and sling them around. You can change tempo and pacing and meanings, pick words for foreshadowing and flavor. I don’t know if any other language has quite the versatility of ours.
It always comes to me, when I’m reading a superb book, what a great language this is. A page from China Mielville or HG Wells or George McDonald Fraser drip with flavor. I can watch the ink dance off their pens, filling my brain with imagery gained, not just through description, but by careful and deliberate word choice.
One day at work, I came back from my desk with that post-lunchtime-writing-glow, kinda a sexual thing that makes my skin flush and my eyes go dreamy. I’d played with the toy of language for a delightful hour. But I had things to do, a meeting to dial in to, food-on-the-table stuff.
And in this meeting, I heard people attempt to talk enthusiasm into our group for a project nobody wanted, something they’d created at the blessing of upper management without the slightest consultation of the users. It’s a tool without a need, something we’ll waste development and training on, disrupt our work flow over, and gain nothing from. But what made me shudder was the horrible use of language, the office-speak of the thing. How we would leverage this, or adapt to that. Paradigms. Go-forwards. Sidebars. All those tired phrases that unimaginative drones use. If anything, it’s like reading self-published books by unskilled hacks, things that shouldn’t have been published but were, not because of need, but because someone wanted to be an author without the prerequisites of extensive reading or any skill or imagination. It was just flatline speech, yacky platitudes that nobody, not even the speaker, believed in.
Wasting breath on language such is this is a crime. It’s like painting a house with artists oils.
God should strike people like this mute.
(He shouldn’t pursue the prideful, though )