Thursday, January 29, 2009

semi-educated losers

There's an interesting article on the Guardian website today by Emily Bell, who after digesting the latest Stephen Fry podcast, agrees with him that language pedants are a pain in the arse. This is difficult reading, in part, because I'm instinctively quite pedantic about incorrect usage. That said, I agree with both Fry and Bell for the most part, as the errors that upset me are largely straightforward - people writing 'loose' when they mean 'lose', putting their apostrophes in the wrong places; and I'm actually pretty relaxed about spellings and meanings evolving, as long as those meanings don't become muddied. That's just part of what language does.

Anyway - interesting piece. Here's Fry's two cents:

The worst of this bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs.

How dense and deaf to language development do you have to be? If you don't like nouns becoming verbs, then for heaven's sake avoid Shakespeare who made a 'doing word' out of a 'thing word' every chance he got. He 'tabled' the motion and 'chaired' the meeting in which nouns were made verbs.


Anonymous said...

People who moan about split infinitives annoy the hell out of me!!!

Stephen Newton said...

Language does evolve and it's right to be relaxed about that.

But misuse of apostrophes, for example, shows the writer has wider problems, struggling to understand concepts like contractions and possession.