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In which I admit my hypocrisy - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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In which I admit my hypocrisy [Oct. 1st, 2015|11:37 am]
Zoethe
When it comes to language, I am a proud Luddite. I cling to the proper use of grammar. I object to people using the word "problematic" to mean "a problem" when the actual definition is "questionable," and agree that I can hand you the remote, but you haven't asked if I will. I insist on spelling out words in texts, eschewing "cu l8tr" for complete sentences with proper punctuation. I champion the Oxford comma.

And yet.

And yet.

I now regularly use "ima" in place of "I'm going to." Oh, not in writing. But speaking? "Ima stop at the grocery store. Want anything?" I hear myself do it, at least part of the time, and reflect upon this slippage of my speech. I know it's not the only example of my speech getting slangy, it's just the one of which I am most aware.

There is nothing about this phrase that is superior to the other phrases that I reject. It just works on my tongue. I have to admit, then, that language is a living thing that does, in fact, move and change.

But I still believe that grammar and vocabulary are important. Precision of thought requires precision of language. Communication beyond the basics is deepened by mutual agreement about the meaning of words.

Ima keep fighting the good fight.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: greybeta
2015-10-01 06:43 pm (UTC)
A little colloquialism never hurt anyone, ya'll.
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[User Picture]From: sacramentalist
2015-10-01 07:07 pm (UTC)
Problematic makes me thing of the Pop-o-matic from that game, Trouble.

Click! "Neil Gaiman!"
Click! "Christopher Hitchens!"

Not so fast! I'm playing my Orson Scott Card-Card.


Edited at 2015-10-01 07:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-10-01 08:08 pm (UTC)
*snerk*
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2015-10-01 07:18 pm (UTC)
I took this course that looked at the German language from a linguistic perspective. One piece of information I remember is that one characteristic of spoken language is that it tends to tries to convey meaning as easy and quickly as possible.
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[User Picture]From: bunny42
2015-10-01 07:49 pm (UTC)
I have recently begun to edge away from the prescriptionists and cave to the description side of grammar. Why? Well, there are so many things going wrong, it's beginning to feel like a losing battle. I'm almost ready to concede that if I understand your meaning, what you're trying to convey, then it doesn't really matter much how you said it. That utterly flies in the face of all my years of study and rigid conformity with the rules of grammar. I still cringe every time Ferrett says "There's three or four reasons I say that." (And he insists on using "doubtlessly," but that's another story.)

Anyway, I, too, find myself slipping into current usages. The difference between who and that, when referring to people, for instance. Dammit, people are WHO, things are THAT. Not anymore, though. I suspect the problem is that most people don't know or care when to use who or whom, so they just lump it all into that. I even hear myself saying it, and I still notice it every time I hear it in other peoples' speech. Does it really matter, as long as I understood what the speaker was trying to convey? Other than harming my sensibilities, I suppose not. Language is fluid and alive (said my German prof in college) and I should be willing to adapt to it. Maybe, but it's still irritating. And my written communication is still letter-perfect, if I can possibly manage it. You, as a lawyer, must appreciate the importance of proper grammar and syntax in legal communication. Or is that slipping, too?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-10-01 08:07 pm (UTC)
It certainly isn't what it used to be, in the legal profession, and to some extent that's good. Legal language shouldn't baffle people.

And, yeah, we are losing the battle.
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[User Picture]From: bunny42
2015-10-01 11:03 pm (UTC)
Sure, legalese is a problem. There's no room for obfuscation in something as potentially life-changing as a legal document. But is simple, proper grammar and syntax too much to ask? Many people rely on SpellCheck and GrammarCheck programs, and that's fine, to an extent. But one should go back and double-check. The machines are only so effective. I'm pretty sure modern publishing companies have all but eliminated the position of copy editor, to judge by the number of errors appearing in today's literature. I'm sorry to go on like this, but it's kind of a hot button with me. Unfortunately, all this venting falls on mostly deaf ears and ultimately won't matter any more than a fart in a whirlwind. Thanks for the forum, anyway. *steps dispiritedly down from soapbox and wanders away...*
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2015-10-02 12:50 am (UTC)
I thought I was the only person who uses complete words and sentences (with proper capitalization and punctuation) in texts. I do the same thing with IM discussions at work. "ty" or "yw" in an IM? Really? You're so busy that you can't even type two words?

Now get off my lawn, you damn kids!
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[User Picture]From: scarfman
2015-10-02 01:31 am (UTC)
About ten years ago now I saw "it's" for "its" in a caption on CBS News.
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2015-10-02 01:07 pm (UTC)
Even after a dozen years living south of the Mason-Dixon line, I've resisted "y'all" as best I can - but this morning, when I heard "y'all's" as the plural possessive, I realized that we don't really have a good word for that. (Does it?)

The context was someone speaking to a married couple; the husband worked and the wife did not, and the speaker was telling the husband that "the money you earn is not YOUR money, it's Y'ALL'S money."
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2015-10-02 01:27 pm (UTC)
The whole history of 'contractions', is a history of people trying to make language work better for them. That being said, I don't hear "ima" very often up here in the Boston area.

My Mom was a stickler for proper grammar. I believe it's part of being the children/grandchildren of immigrants (Irish mostly) who 'needed' to prove they were intelligent and civilized and not the 'barbarians' that old Yankee families thought.

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[User Picture]From: khiron1416
2015-10-02 02:00 pm (UTC)
But, but think of the economy of words! You're taking a construction that requires a conjugated verb (to be) and a gerund (going) just to get to the actual verb you're using (to stop in this case) which you have use in the infinitive because you already have so much else going on and trading all that in for "a" + the conjugated verb.
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From: anonymousalex
2015-10-02 02:48 pm (UTC)
Oxford comma FTW!

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: funwithrage
2015-10-02 08:40 pm (UTC)
My rule of thumb is that I accept most shifts, but stand firm against anything that sounds like it came from StrexCorp/HR. So "I'ma" or "totes" is fine, but anyone using "synergize" or "core competency" can go to SO MUCH HELL.
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From: anonymousalex
2015-10-03 02:33 pm (UTC)
I will probably take my hatred of "proactive" to the grave.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-10-04 07:22 pm (UTC)
How about "above my paygrade"?
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[User Picture]From: bunny42
2015-10-04 10:57 pm (UTC)
Not in my wheelhouse?
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