This is my response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt of 11 June 2018 – bastion.  This is also my response to the Fandango’s One Word Challenge – succinct.

In my household, my true love is the bastion of language.  He is very particular about it, and its incorrect use and the incorrect manner in which it is used, drives him wild.  He likes order and structure, whereas I’m a little more free and easy with my use of language.

My true love is quite economical with his words.  This is also true of my children.  Why take 100 words to say something when you can say it in 10.  On the other hand, it takes me quite some time to get to the point, assuming I even know what the point is.  I am one of those people that think aloud, and I often stop speaking mid-thought without noticing, except of course the rest of my family is waiting for me to finish what I am saying.  Very frustrating for them.

My true love sets out to write with a structure, and outline already in mind.  This is quite a foreign concept to me.  I paint with words – a dib here, a dab there, before it all comes together in a cohesive (and sometimes not so cohesive) whole.  He is succinct.  I am long-winded.  Both writing processes take time.

However, there are some things we both agree on.  Words are meant to convey meaning and the truth.  In a court of law, words are important.  We are required under law to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  In life, language is important.  Even in politics, language as truth is important.  Members of parliament must not mislead the parliament (or the people).  My true love and I both detest it when politicians say many words that have no meaning at all.  I appreciate that it is difficult to convey complex ideas succinctly.  Nevertheless, words must convey meaning, otherwise why bother?

I’m more flexible about the evolution of language than my true love.  I like the use of emoji’s (emoticons).  Emoticons are as succinct as I’m ever going to get.  However, hell will probably freeze over before my true love uses an emoji.  I have tremendous admiration for one senior politician in my country who wrote a whole tweet with emoticons.  I think she’ll go far, provided the men in her party don’t undermine her.

To me, language is also music.  If there should ever be a time in my future when I lose my ability to construct language, I am hopeful I will still be able to communicate with song.  I have a vast repertoire of 70’s and 80’s pop songs stuck in my head.

13 thoughts on “The Bastion of Language

  1. I am like your true love in that I am particular about language and incorrect usage, grammar, and punctuation drives me crazy. But I’m also like you in that when I write, I don’t typically have it all outlined and planned out. It’s generally a flow of consciousness. At least the first draft is, anyway.

    Thanks for participating in the prompt.

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  2. I love the notion of painting with words. I think that’s my approach too. I certainly don’t do well with structure and planning. I write to discover first of all, the communicate my discoveries. It takes a while; often a long while 😀

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    1. I am a bit relieved that you should say that, Su. Because often when I’ve told people this is the way it goes with me, they’ve looked at me like I’ve got two heads. So it is nice to know that somebody else gets it. 🙂 And yes, it often takes a long while (and a lot of chocolate).

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      1. That’s kind of sad. I’ve always thought of writing as discovery. I don’t read a lot of biographical stuff, but I’ve certainly read authors on their processes describing the same thing, so we’re not alone. 🙂

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  3. I paint with words, too. I care about how language is used, but not to the extent that I’m going to jump on someone for not using it the way I want. I had enough of that as a teacher — I didn’t do that as a teacher, either, but so many other English teachers had that many of my students had a kind PTSD fear of writing. Some of my favorite writers — Gerard Manley Hopkins might top the list — experimented all the time with the sounds of the words he used in his poetry and damn, that worked so beautifully it makes my heart sing. ❤

    Pied Beauty
    Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844 – 1889

    Glory be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
    And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
    Praise Him.

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    1. I got a PTSD fear of writing from my former job in the public service, so I know that feeling you describe. Thank you for sharing the poem, Martha. It’s like a waterfall. That must have been very avante-garde for the times. And he died so young!

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  4. I also like the correct use of language although I have to admit to be only very strict about it in my mother tongue – any of the other 4 languages I more or less speak are a whole different matter. 😉 There I’m just glad of anybody understands what I’m saying! 😄

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      1. I can assure you it’s not! 😂 But thanks to blogging it really improved in the last years what with using it daily. 😉 And also if you speak English there’s not much use of learning another language as it really is universal. 😄

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