Listening to:

So after being catatonic on heroin for the past six months, I decided to update this thing again. I don’t really have much to say, write, whatever, but a thought was blasting my neurotransmitters to the next dimension, so I decided to just drop it on people who actually enjoy reading words in run-on sentences. What a concept.

So speaking of words, we humans seem be utterly obsessed with them. Well, most are just swimming in language and accepting it as reality… wait let me rephrase, people are swimming in their own language and thinking that it’s the “normal” way to perceive reality. They tend to think that there should be certain ways we say certain words and if you violate these rules, you’re “ignorant”, “lower class”, or maybe you’re just not from around here boy..

Damn, that probably doesn’t qualify as obsession, perhaps I and a few others (a few others and I, FUCK) are the only ones obsessed with words and the power language has on culture. Well, language really is inseparable from culture, but that’s another post. Where the hell was I?

*Reaches for needle*

That’s better. Anyway, back to what I was rambling about. (oh shit I ended a sentence with a preposition) People are constantly judging each other’s language use in terms of accents, dialects, whether or not you pronounce “Don” the same as “dawn”, and whether or not you replace “your” (possessive) for “you’re” (contraction) on facebook WHICH BY THE WAY IS A FUCKING SIN. These are examples of people, usually in groups, differentiating themselves from others and going by established, “correct” laws of language usage.

A classic example is the topic of Ebonics, or African American Vernacular English for short. I’ll admit that being the racist snot that I am, I have found several utterances of this dialect to be quite comical. But I am fascinated by different cultures and the makeup of speech communities. The typical racist will hear the phrase “oh y’all be triflin’ err’day” and think “wow, these people can’t even speak the language right. Don’t they know about all these rules? How to pronounce things correctly? They must not be as intelligent as me, the man who shits gold bullion.”

On a side note, I’m not stating that all “racists” are just white people who get annoyed/scared when a black family of twelve gets an adjacent table at Lucilles BBQ. Every culture, race, and speech community is perfectly capable of breeding douchebags. If history is any indication, they are pretty damn good at it.

I wonder, could the ones wrapped up in their grammar rules and superiority complexes ever realize that LANGUAGE IS COMPLETELY FUCKING ARBITRARY? Seriously, the symbol that represents a furry feline house pet, “cat”, is just a collection of three sounds that you produce by vibrating your vocal cords and making your tongue dance around like a well-trained contortionist slut. It’s arbitrary and is just a product of the individual culture. If you were raised in a Spanish-speaking community you will automically think “gato” whenever you see that same feline, but did the creature change? No, just the noises highly-evolved apes emit.

My point is (yes there is one): the complaints about “language degradation” and “butchering English” have no basis in logic, but then again culture is a funny, often illogical thing like that. Ebonics may sound funny and “lower class” if you’re part of the mainstream, but it has rules just like other vernaculars, and its users can understand each other perfectly fine. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the main point of a communications system the exchange of information? Does it really matter if they’re dropping syllables when the communication is going along smoothly? If you can see through the conditioning of your culture for five seconds, you’ll realize naturally that of course, it doesn’t matter at all. It only matters because we believe it matters.

“Got a shovel? ‘Cuz that shit was deep.”

If you want to sound smart in front of the opposite sex and drop buzzwords like you just looked up them up on your iphone, indulge yourself in these two combinations of arbitrary fluff: prescriptivism and descriptivism. In a nutshell, a prescriptivist is interested in how language “ought to be”. Grammar Nazi’s and the like. Certain words should be said a certain way and that’s the way it is to these people. Descriptivists, often frustrated linguistics students (“What kind of a career can you get with that?”) are not interested with what people think language should or shoudn’t be. We are instead focused on how language is actually used. I can study a vernacular such as Ebonics and simply observe scientifically how it is used in context, rather than condemn it because my superficial system of symbols is better than yours.

Well, hate to be anticlimactic, but YouTube distractions summon me for higher spiritual fulfillment. I’ll write more at length about this next time, considering this post was more of a light rubbing on the hood then full-on cunnilingual diving into the… er… subject. Just remember to clarify with your English teacher if “Fuck off!” violates the no-preposition-at-the-end-of-

…well, you get my idea.

-Sean

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