March 02, 2004

Ring Composition

Well, the main addition to this site today is the web rings section on the sidebar. This site is now a part of the Grammar Avengers web ring devoted to blogs of people who have “a love of language”. It seemed like the obvious choice for me! Do check out some of the other blogs on the ring.

I’d also like to follow up on one of the many cogent and interesting comments posted by Anatole on one of my previous entries.

I would suggest that recent political leaders seem less able to speak off the cuff, or at least they do so less. Their handlers seem to keep them pretty strictly on the script (a wise move in the case of George W. Bush). Even Jean Chrétien, who used to be known for his fiery style of oratory in the 60’s and 70’s, was much more subdued and premeditated in his speach patterns as Prime Minister in the 90’s. But this may not be a reflection on ability, so much as a technological exigency. In the early half of the 20th century, an off-the-cuff remark by a politician wouldn’t be replayed ad nauseum on a headline news channel.

But in terms of the level of sophistication of prepared speaches I think the theory does hold. Political speaches today do sound a lot more conversational and direct, belying their careful crafting. After all, Reagan was known as “the great communicator” for his use of straightforward language. Well, he certainly wasn’t Churchill.

Getting back to my original point, I guess technology of one sort or another has always been a driving force behind spoken-language change: the creation of the technology of writing necessitated the invention of written language, adapted from spoken language; years later the invention of computer technology has led to spoken language again having an influence of written language. The two diverged for a few thousand years but may be coalescing again. Punning again on the title of this posting, I guess written language is coming full circle.

Posted by Mark at March 2, 2004 11:50 PM

You will soon find out that most Grammar Avengers are more knitters than language lovers. It’s a pleasant ring to belong to, however, and I do get hits from members on a regular basis.

Posted by: Rethabile Masilo at March 6, 2004 03:35 PM