Spelling and syntax are unimportant according to progressive educators. Expressing oneself overshadows the beauty of language construction.
Words, however, seem to have little meaning or consequence these days. "One of the difficulties in the language is that all our words, from loose using, have lost their edge." Ernest Hemingway made this observation decades ago. What would he think now?
Many in expressing themselves, in written or spoken words, are using a language foreign to me. Paragraph-long sentences in government forms, insurance policies and legal documents require rigorous study to separate the meat from the garnish. The current protesters scream "We're taking our country back?" When asked what they mean, they have no substantive answer.
I learned that nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs arranged in logical order produced concrete thoughts. The words had meaning; one reading or hearing them understand what I wished to convey.
"One major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions." Edward R. Murrow.
What do these slogans mean? "Hope and change," "Yes, we can," "Going green," "your fair share." They sound sound, but do they solve a problem? Perhaps their meanings are in the eye of the speaker.
The youngsters texting requires an interpreter. "K. UR AOTA, DLTM YBS, CYL:" Okay. You are all of the above, do not lie to me, you'll be sorry. See you soon. Or "IMS, LY" translates into I am sorry, love you.
"North Americans communicate through buttons, T-shirts and bumper stickers the way some cultures use drums." Tim McCarthy
In my college days, liberal arts majors consist of literature, history, sociology, fine arts and languages. What do these majors, offered at some universities, prepare you for after graduation? Bowling Industry Management, Packaging, EcoGastronomy.
One senator said of the health care bill that he had not read it and he had aides to study it and explain the meaning to him. Nancy Pelosi said they had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.
It will get worse. Our children are not required to spell words correctly. Many eighth graders or higher can not read a newspaper or fill out a job application without assistance, much less write an essay. These children will one day be our leaders.
Imagine what our laws and our speech will be like in twenty years.
English is not considered the most beautiful of languages, but it is rich. Its many synonyms, antonyms and homonyms are a gourmet feast to the writer.
Do words matter? Yes, indeed, truly, surely, surely, of course.