Monday, 17 December 2007

somethig what i found in the news paper on satday

Here's a great little article that was tucked away in The Guardian's Review section over the weekend:,,2227650,00.html

Dealing with the subject of obscure words, author James Meek (no relation to Joe I understand), makes some fantastic points about language in general. Although paraphrasing to buggery, he takes the good old fashioned Asistotelian, ontological viewpoint, reminding us of the need for a hierarchy of diction; clear, concise, humdrum language for everyday clarity and technical, exotic, downright weird words for "distinction". And this mixture is essential. Not just to enrich but also to engage. (At that point I came over all twat-headed and dug out my battered copy [aren't they all?] of Plato's Republic to re-read his cave allegory, breifly re-living all my undergraduate semiotics, word/image courses like some tedious old shit). Anyway, post-nostalgia, I finished the article which went on to quote Sir Ernest Gower's The Complete Plain Words. I've never read it but maybe I should. Not only is it one of those ace little 1950's era Penguin paperpacks, it also (evidently) makes the point that "ostentatiously avoiding long words can be as annoying to readers as over-using them."

I'll drink (Innocent) to that.

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