Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Doppelganger

The other day, I was watching Heroes and Niki/Jessica reminded me of the linguistic doppelganger that affects a lot of people in this nation.

I am talking about the gap which exists between spoken and written English. Even if you discount the fact that speaking a language that is non-native to you involves a different level of comfort than writing in it, there is a stark gap. Even in those who are otherwise fairly comfortable in speaking the language. It exists in terms of vocabulary, or more aptly, the choice of words.
Why do so many of us choose to use haughty words or jargon picked up from popular sources when writing or speaking in public? The same people who are able to express themselves fluidly in simple language during conversation, use a totally different language altogether when writing/ speaking in public.
This at times makes me wonder, are they doing it to distance their writing self /public speaking self from their true self? Is this choice a conscious act and if so, why?

Or perhaps I am reading too much into it, it may be a result of the way the language is taught here by an education system that is optimised to create non- thinking clerks. But so many years later, why do we keep falling into the trap?

Good English or bad English is secondary, what I seek is honest English.



3 comments:

  1. The answer lies in one of George Orwell's essay, "Politics and English Language"

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  2. I'm glad you're at least owning up to your problem, in your own way ;)
    heh heh

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  3. are you implying that my posts should contain more ancient Chinese philosophy?

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