Thom Dunn's Reviews > Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language

Death Sentences by Don Watson
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message 1: by Valerie (new)

Valerie ?"Public Language"? This seems either redundant or an oxymoron...could something possibly be both?

There was a question on a news program which basically asked people to tell what they say when they talk to themselves. I was reminded of my aunt who, when people came upon her talking to herself, would snap "I'm talking to myself, don't interrupt!" And would add "It's the only way I can get any intelligent conversation around here."

Speaking personally, when I talk to myself, it's sometimes a running commentary on what I'm doing (a way of letting the left brain know what the right brain is doing), or lectures to imaginary audiences on scientific, historical, or other academic subjects. In the course of this, I use subjunctive voice, redundant emphatics (such as 'pleased, delighted, thrilled, exalted, and exhilarated'), and frequent excursions along tangential byways.

As for public language, I don't have much call for it: so I can't speak as to its current health. But as to how 'management speak' affects my public language, I'd say not at all, since I rarely to never talk to, or listen to, managers.


Thom Dunn Valerie wrote: "?"Public Language"? This seems either redundant or an oxymoron...could something possibly be both?

There was a question on a news program which basically asked people to tell what they say when t..."


This book seems another of those prescriptive grammars by folks--William Safire comes to mind--who have elevated themselves to keepers of "correct" modes of speech. Machs nichts: kids and others will go on inventing the talk they need, and scribes will trudge on breathlessly behind, and after them the makers of "rules" who dearly desire some authority in speech. Aber die gedanken sind frei...and so is speech. Unalienable.


message 3: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Reminds me of Porkypine commenting that he wished he had a faster uptake...he's just realized that people were trying to keep us from making dern fools of ourselfs, whereas it's our inherit right to make dern fools of ourselfs if we so please.


Thom Dunn Y'all might could, iffn ya wishta.


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