Save our words

Posted on Posted in Information & Opinion

I recently received a complimentary email from a friend who is an accomplished author. She was responding to a post of mine entitled ‘I’m over the moon‘ and it led to a discussion about the English language.

‘Congrats James!

Have you joined Goodreads yet?

Hey is jewelry mis-spelled or the British version? “He is now Chairman of a jewellery wholesaler”

My reply was;

Hi Cinda.

I’ve been on Goodreads for yonks but have never done a lot.

I’m gearing up now. It shows me reading your book….’ 60% completed and still going.

Presumably you can put the same review on Amazon and Goodreads?

I really battle with this ‘What kind of English should you write?’ Call me olde fashioned if you like and I am trying to catch up but to me English is English. Other stuff, like the American version, I believe, should be called American (not English).

It is terribly confusing for Thais, for example, because in Thailand schools English is taught by Thais, Americans, Irish, Swedish, Aussies and a few English. I have been teaching a 17 year old Thai girl and her text books are in USA English (ugghh!!) so I’m stuffed if I give her a spelling test because according to her teacher (who’s not English) she’ll be wrong often. How did it ever happen? Is it the same with other languages?

Anyway, now that’s off my chest.

The correct spelling of jewellery is jewellery!!!! Unless, of course, you come from another country and not England, which I don’t. Then I’m afraid I won’t know and it depends on which country. As Wikipedia lists 100’s it could prove to be be difficult.

Now I must try and write. Not sure what language I’ll use today.

Keep well.

James’

There may be over a million words in the English language and thousands may be added each year. Some people believe that apart from adding words other words should be deleted from dictionaries and no longer used because they are archaic and therefore obsolete. I disagree and object strongly. English is rich in the choice of words at our disposal which enables us to add colour and depth to our writing. Because a word is not in general use it does not make it archaic or obsolete.

Does anyone read Shakespeare, Dickens, Wordsworth and Yeats today? I think we all know the answer to that.

Dickens_by_Watkins_detail Save our words
English: Detail from photographic portrait of Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We don’t have the right to deprive students and writers by declaring words obsolete. Adding to our choices enriches the language, reducing them makes it poorer.

If this stirs you in any way please click below and read this post entitled

WILL LOSS OF LANGUAGE SKILLS LEAD TO A BREAKDOWN IN SOCIETY?

0 thoughts on “Save our words

  1. I don’t think we should lose our rich vocabulary, dialects or accents. Although that is happening with globalization. When I ask people (who speak excellent English) where they are from, it is usually because I like their accent and want to know their story. Some are unhappy to hear they still have an accent, but I tell them “don’t ever lose it!” Language reflects history – whether modern or olden. (There you go “olden” still in use!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.