How We Write & The English LanguageJune 6, 2010
I’ve been doing some assignments lately, where my parents have proofread it to make sure it makes sense and also to make sure I’ve spelt everything correctly (which hasn’t been a problem, since I’m a pretty good speller and also the computer does help a lot). The problem has been that apparently I don’t use big enough words and that I’m going to need to increase my vocabulary when I become an adult.
I cannot see why this matters. As long as you use the jargon and terminology specific to the subject you’re writing about, then why do you need to use fancier words than necessary. Here’s an example: I was writing about the apartheid era in South Africa and wrote this (not a complete sentence), “…realised that they didn’t have enough people to work…”. I was told to write this instead, “…realised that they didn’t have an adequately sized workforce…”. To me, they both mean the same thing, one just uses fancier words than the other. So why can’t I use the one I choose and get the same mark?
To me, the point of communication is to get your message across from one person to the other in a way that you can both understand that message. Both of those sentences achieve that goal, my sentence even gets across to more people than the so called “improved” sentence. Why do we have multiple words that mean exactly the same thing, that doesn’t improve communication, that handicaps it because everyone has to know all the different words that mean that one thing.
The other problem I have is that, in traditional English (the UK one that we use in Australia) we still have silent letters in words. WHY on earth would you want to have letters in a word which are silent and therefore are useless? e.g is Colour: the US removed the u because it was not needed, same with programme: they removed the extra me because it was not needed. Nobody has moved yet to remove the g from gnome so that it’s just nome. Spelling would improve if we spelt words exactly the way they sounded.
Anyway – there’s my rant about the English language. I have plenty to rant about, so hopefully I can find some time to write about it here!