Archive for the ‘language’ Category

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A symphony of words

February 19, 2014

words1One of my bug bears is incorrect grammar and spelling.  You know the sort of thing “let’s eat Grandma v let’s eat, Grandma” or “eats shoots and leaves“.  I’m particularly fussy when it comes to this sort of thing & I often cringe at the things which are written in our newspapers and even said on the BBC News.  I mean if the BBC can’t get it right …!

Anyway moving on.  Today I came across a great article Grammar Is a Marketer’s Best Friend.  I love it!  It talks about how we shouldn’t “fling more words and punctuation into the online ether in the hopes that some of them will evolve into sentences, paragraphs, blog posts, white papers, and eBooks” we should stop & think and make sure that those words are actually being used effectively and saying the things that they should be saying.

As a marketer, all I can say is here here.

Words shouldn’t complicate our messages, they should enhance them, make things clearer for our target audiences and give them the information that they want and need in a easy to understand way.  It’s a shame that more people don’t pay attention to these simple points.  They shouldn’t be ideals that we all strive for, they should just happen.  Period.

My favourite paragraph in the whole article appears right at the end:

“When words and punctuation are brought together, something magical happens: grammar, yes, but not only grammar. Music. If words and sentences are the notes in the score, punctuation marks are the rests, and the marketer, the marketer whose best friend is grammar, is the director.”

As a advocate on the importance of music in our lives, I love the idea that words are music.  The thought that an article or a book is not simply a collection of words thrown together in any old way but a symphony of words assembled together in a beautiful way for the education, pleasure and perhaps entertainment of the reader is perfect.

I have no words to describe my feelings but I’m humming a tune!

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Is silence golden?

February 15, 2012
Sometimes I love that silence between people, when no words are necessary & you’re just happy to be.  Period.  But at other times I really hate it & it feels really awkward & uncomfortable.  I feel like I want to talk.  I want that interaction but I don’t want to force it.  Do you get what I mean?

And I don’t just mean on a face-to-face level.  I’m talking about online communication as well.  In this age of technology and with the numerous communication channels open to us, perhaps this is even more relevant online.

It’s like, if you go up to someone to talk to them & they just turn away and don’t reply, it leaves you feeling somewhat hurt.  I think it’s like that in our online worlds as well.  If we send an email to someone.  If we post on their Facebook wall.  If we “like” a photo or a blog post.  If we send them a text.  If we talk to them via online messenger.  If we communicate in some other way online and ….. nothing!

If we just don’t get a response, t’s like that person is physically turning around & walking away from you. Effectively ignoring you.  Well maybe it’s just me, but that can hurt too.  You can feel like you’re being ignored and that the other person just doesn’t want to know you or perhaps can’t be bothered with what you have to say at that particular point in time.  And maybe sometimes that’s ok but perhaps at other times it isn’t.  You might simply want to talk to someone, about anything at all, just to have someone there to communicate with.  You might want to feel better about something but can’t actually bring yourself to express those words.  So instead you turn to online media because you have a need and are trying to get back something which will help you. Support from a friend?  Encouragement you’re doing the right thing? Acknowledgment that you’re not on your own or forgotten.

Perhaps that’s where technology is letting us down, because the other person can’t see you visibly and so they just don’t get it?  Ok, I might feel that way but they might not even realise that.  They might not see how their unresponsiveness appears.  To them perhaps they missed the initial communication or they didn’t realise its importance or that it warranted a response.  Perhaps if you’d been face-to-face that would not have been the case & they would have seen in your face that something was needed from them?  Hmm.

So is technology helping or hindering communication?  Is it making your life better or worse?  Is this age of increasing communication tools actually improving communication between people?  Are we all too caught up in our own worlds on both sides of that communication to hear what is or isn’t being said?

Is that silence golden & beautiful or does it make you feel lonely and detached?
Discuss!
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The unopened letter

March 1, 2011

Well this evening I opened a letter that arrived this morning from the University of Sheffield.  Thinking it was nothing important I hadn’t been in a rush to read it sooner – I wish I had thought.  Why?  Well because I opened up that plain brown envelope to find my returned assignment inside.  It was an essay I wrote over Christmas about Rodrigo the Spanish classical composer and his famous Concerto de Aranjuez.  I was delighted to see that I’d got 70%!  Go Moonflowers, go! 🙂

I’m one happy bunny tonight & will fall asleep amidst thoughts & dreams of Spanish and one of my favourite pieces of classical music.  How cool is that? 😀

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Language

February 24, 2011

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m very interested in languages.  By languages I don’t just mean foreign languages although I do believe that everyone should learn another language and at least make the effort to speak a few words of that language when they are abroad.  But as I said, not just other languages but our own English language is important.  It amazes me how so many people you come into contact with on a daily basis are unable to speak their own mother tongue correctly – but perhaps that should be the subject of a future post!

Anyway, this evening it was my Spanish evening class and so my photo illustrates a selection of text books, the more important being that dictionary.  It was very well leafed during a translation this evening.  Ah, if only I knew more vocab but I guess no-one can ever know enough vocab.  After all, language is constantly evolving, isn’t it?

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and the millionth winner is …

June 10, 2009

wordsToday, the millionth English word has been unveiled. Suspense has been gathering all week – well ok for me it’s only been over the last couple of hours since I heard about this imminent announcement, but still 😉

To be honest, I’m a little disheartened to learn that it’s actually an American group who are going to make this decision.  Yes, American, those of the land of the free who regularly subject great injury & infliction upon our great English language.

Nonetheless, I did wonder what those powers that be would extol on us?  What would they deem to be a word worthy of being added to our potential vocabulary.  I say potential because apparently the average person actually only uses a vocab of about 3000 words!  Quite a waste considering the wealth of options which is seems are available.   Why say colourful when you can say iridescent? (I do like that word)  Why not use irascible instead of angry?  After all Shakespeare had a vocab of some 27,000 words and Victor Hugo, well he stretched his to some 45,000!

A few months ago I wrote about how it was now not pc to use Latin words in everyday life, that we are excluding people by doing so.  Are we not then pandering to those of a lower common denominator, not endeavouring to educate and inform and encourage them to extend their knowledge?  Hmm, if we carried on like that, we’d still be cavemen, using sticks & stones & dressed in rags.  No, I think it’s our duty to educate our children, to help them to become better than us, to increase their options & provide them with even better opportunities than we had.  Granted language might not be the only way to do this, but it’s a good place to start.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand.  That millionth word.  Are you wondering what it is yet? 😉

Well I’m pleased to announce that the newest word in the English language is …  wait for it  …

Web 2.0

Are you as underwhelmed as I am?

I must admit I was hoping for something a bit more original, something interesting, something which told a story.  But I guess this is very much a word of our times, isnt it?  In this techy age in which we live, we are constantly bombarded by new terminology and expressions, constantly seeing words introduced which illustrate the technology around us which we are learning to accept as everyday life.  After all, how many of us google? or surf? or even blog?  So I supposed – reluctantly- that Web 2.0 is another illustration of that world in which we live, of life today.

I’m passionate about words and language and all those things.  After all, they are the essence of communication, the very heart of our conversations.  I believe we should try to increase our personal vocabulary and learn more.  I would even go so far as to say we shouldnt just concentrate on English, but that we should learn other languages as well.  After all communication breaks down boundaries and what better way to communicate but to talk – but that’s a whole different post.

So go forth and talk and learn! 🙂

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an eye for an eye

March 18, 2009

eyeAn eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandi
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 – 1948)

I heard this on the radio yesterday.  Isnt it a great quote? and a good reminder to us all to have more tolerance, more forgiveness and more love for one another in our world.

Wise words from a very wise man.

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no Latin please, we’re British!

November 12, 2008

amo amas amat amamus amatis amant
and so it goes.

image by MyahcatFor those of you of a certain age or over, these words wont be gobgobbledygook, you will recognise them instantaneously as the parts of the verb ‘to love’ in Latin. Latin, the foundation of so many languages, the basis for many of those scientific terms, the origin of so much. Latin, that self same language now deemed politically incorrect and banned by many of our local authorities.

Yes, you read that right. Latin should no longer be used because it is a discriminatory language! We might confuse people if we use Latin words, or, god forbid, we might even educate some of them! So we should forget all the terms and expressions that we know and love and use on a regular basis, because in using these things, we are being positively discriminatory to other people who don’t know Latin!

Is this a case of political correctness gone mad?
Should we all be living our lives and using language which adheres to the lowest common denominator?!

I find that crazy.

So beware all you out there you, with your ad hocs, vice versas and vias. Be warned, no longer should you talk about e.g. or i.e. ad infinitum. Today is the day of change. Bring back plain English toute de suite! But for those of you who think we should stick to our guns and speak Latin on a daily basis, check this out for some handy new phrases!

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