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  • Kathryn Allen

Liquid Language


I read an article recently (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-19/purist-or-revolutionist-language-you-grumble-about-reveals-which/10776766?section=analysis) about how people view language. On one side you have the purists who want language to stay static, keeping forever as they learned it and on the other, the evolutionists who see changes to language as proof it's alive. While on a handful of matters I'm probably more in the purist camp, generally I'm all for the language being fluid. Not Terminator T-1000 levels of fluid because that was all kinds of bad but more of a river moving and changing to accommodate new times.


Particularly in written communication I love the way that emojis and asterisks and other formatting are actually making written text clearer. There is so much scope for something to be misconstrued when you are just looking at the words, with no tone, no real emotional context. As much as the rough spelling may make me wince at times, I think it's a great thing to be able to imbue what you are writing with sarcasm or a light-heartedness that might not be clear in just the words alone. Language is all about communication after all and if a face palm emoji makes the message clearer then I am fully on board.


I find this in fiction and often poetry too, not so much the emojis, but the use of something that may not make complete literal sense being used to describe a situation or a mood. If the expression makes you feel the right thing then it doesn't matter how it's spelled or whether it has documentary standard accuracy.


So wherever you are on the language spectrum, just remember what it is there for and if that purpose is still being met then



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