Of course I know that is not how you spell it; after all I have three university degrees and parts of several others, including a Doctor of Education at Columbia University in New York City, Riverside Drive. But it is how I choose to spell it, currently, if not the day after tomorrow. Face it, if languages were fixed and proper, how would we have families of languages, like Romance and all that? Actually, new words, and I do believe new languages, are being spawned more right now than ever before. There are technical phenomena, that have no precise words, happening at an increasing rate, not to mention the increasing speed of worlds of communication clashing their local usages, forming shells of languages, joining the old areas of languages, and what could be expected but new stuff, including grammar (though that seems to be genetic, in forms anyway). Perhaps our greatest philosopher was the inventor of Humpty Dumpty, even though Queen Victoria did not know his correct name. “Words mean what I mean them to mean, neither more nor less”; this cannot be improved upon. Leaving to one side that each of us does not always mean the same thing by a specific word, let alone a synonym, how could language not change with use?

Perhaps the clearest statement about language may be “You know what I mean” from Wonderland, and this is true even when we do not want the other person to know what we really do mean. If I sound mean about all this, this is in keeping, as nice-sounding words often mean something really mean, if I make myself clear.


~ by dkcrowdis on September 3, 2007.

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