Mudcat Café message #4004733 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132499   Message #4004733
Posted By: leeneia
16-Aug-19 - 11:56 AM
Thread Name: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
No matter how many people (read men) tell me that my opinions about English have no foundation, I don't pay attention to them.

Language is important. It can be dishonest, manipulative, or insulting if we let it. It can also waste our time. And so we have every right to pay attention to it and talk about it.

Here's an example of a major language problem that bothers me. I love geology, and recently I borrowed a book on the geologic history of the Alps. Ordinarily, this would be right up my alley - an exciting tale of collisions and destruction.

Unfortunately, the book had been published by the Cambridge University Press (or similar), and its prose was absolutely stultified. You know, the kind of writing you get when a down-to-earth (no pun intended) man thinks, "O god, I've got to write so as to sound intellectual."

The result was that I could not keep awake while reading the book. The struggle to find the message amidst a tangle of over-decorated clauses was too much for me.

If I (who can sleep all I want) can't keep awake while reading it, how can an over-worked student be expected to? What about the person for whom English is not the native language? Why should such a reader have to beat the way through 18th-Century sentence structures?

Writing like that defeats the purpose of the book. That's why I said language can waste our time.