Sunday, July 13, 2008

learn to type and the rest will follow

I'm not quite sure wtf Catherine Bennett is blabbering on about here: It's only words, maybe. But we must take care of our language. If you want to write an article complaining about use of English, you really need to take a little more care in writing clearly. Reading between the lines, perhaps she was just annoyed when the removals men couldn't understand her when she was saying, "Be careful with that vase!" Or something.

I love these middle class rants about language, the general drift of which is a feeling of deep unease, a feeling that if things go on like this, people will be reduced to grunting. I suspect that the drive behind these fears is the continuing decline of RP's authority, and the quickened pace of Standard English's evolution caused by globalisation.

And this thing about undergraduates being unable to communicate is caused (again, I'm guessing here, mind), by piss poor typing skills in an age where email is becoming inescapable. I communicate with some very good English teachers whose written English appears to be shocking. But it's difficult to be clear when you're in a hurry and your eyes are on your two fingers on the keyboard.

I wish more people would learn to type. It's like riding a bike. By that I mean, it's a skill you might get a wee bit rusty at, but you never forget. And it's got that same, quiet pleasure of a skill learned. Just as you feel a strange joy as you lean into a curve at the bottom of a hill, so you can feel almost a kind of wonder as a sentence appears in the document on the screen in front of you, seemingly unbidden.