I approach this blog entry about language usage with trepidation because grammar is not my strong suite. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by English majors; all the members of my writing group are English majors except me. My son, daughter, niece, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and ex-husband also hold various degrees in English. Many of them are writers and published authors. Flower photos will punctuate this blog with color.
However, I’m so excited by the uses of language to express everything from infatuation to nervous anticipation, I’m twitterpated. I’m especially fond of the word “twitterpated.” It’s rarely used in descriptions of passionate love, daily life, or politics and more often found in wordsmithing novels.
Language usage is a “thing” among my family and friends. Family remembers mentioned above have been known to spend hours debating the use of apostrophes to change a word ending with “s” to plural. Should one add an apostrophe at the end of the last letter like xxxs’ or should it be xxxs’s or xxxses? Many sources tell us more than one is acceptable. To some this may seem like a wasted opportunity to communicate about important issues. But during this pandemic when so many of us are isolated from each other, I believe it provides a venue for communication, bringing us together when we often disagree about politics, religion, and social issues.
However, there are occasions that call for other descriptors like this morning as I was preparing to leave for work, the garage door malfunctioned refusing to open with the car still in the garage, leaving me flummoxed about a solution and I won’t soil your day with the list of inappropriate swear words I uttered under my breath.
Regardless on one’s thoughts about the use of misused words, I’m not a fan of the nonstandard “irregardless” so often used in conversation. When someone says irregardless, it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to many of us. What should you or I do, ignore the misuse, casually suggest a correction, or use the word correctly, restating the issue? I believe the correct response depends on our relationship with the speaker. This brings us back to the connection between language usage and human connection. Or, we can just get used to it as irregardless has been in use for years and is recorded in dictionaries as NPR describes in this article. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/07/887649010/regardless-of-what-you-think-irregardless-is-a-word
There are many languages in use around the world, and many more dialects within them. I’ll close today’s blog with my poem, Language, published by Story circle Journal. Be well and communicate in your preferred style.
Paris, city I haven’t visited, whose cathedral I didn’t see,
people I don’t know, faced their city’s waterloo
as they bade Notre Dame’s famed spire adieu.
The little French I recalled from my high school degree
and four college classes failed me, but like an emcee,
evoked ancient cries like, oh, mom Dieu and, sacrebleu,
and stumbled over the important question, parley-vous
Anglaise ? Fermer la bouche, bizarrely, stayed with me;
Madam often told our class to shut up and learn punctuation.
Mon nom est Lin, translates my moniker, as flax, or linseed
in French; being called a seed or a plant fits my behavior,
whereas Linda, my birthname, doesn’t have a translation
in French, but is bonito or beautiful in Spanish, indeed,
a language I should learn to talk to my neighbors.