Friday, February 1, 2013

For Linguistic Kindness and Sanity in 2013...

. . . and beyond.

But if we can have just the last 11 months this year with basic linguistic kindness and sanity, that would be a great start! Those who work in academics, and particularly the humanities perhaps, do not have an immediate impact on the major, visible problems of evil in the world (greed, idolatry, violence, poverty, oppression). But improving how we think about, say, language does change how we think about others and then ultimately how we treat them. A trickle-down effect if you will.

Linguistic Kindness
So how do we think kindly about others' usage of language? I would argue that it starts with humility. Regardless of how much we know about language in comparison to someone else, we do not allow ourselves to think less of them when they use language or say things about language (metalinguistics) that we disagree with or even know to be patently wrong.

Linguistic Sanity
At the same time, we must insist that none of us knows as much about language, or anything else, as we would like to. So before we make linguistic condemnations or pronouncements, let's be sure we know that what we are saying is true, sane.

Concrete examples of all this to follow . . .

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