Sunday, November 29, 2009

Word Power by Murriel Mapa

In our third lecture (Monday, September 28th, 2009), we discussed the importance of critical reading when it came to biased language. I believe that yes, when developing a piece of writing it is important to watch the wording of specific words in order to avoid creating stereotypes or offending your reader. However, I agree with Michiko Kakutani’s essay, “The Word Police.” There are many restrictions in the English Language as is, and to put up a futile argument over a word like “man-kind” is what I would call extraneous. Kakutani even mentions the 1991 edition of the “Random House Webster’s College Dictionary,” which includes words such as “womyn” in order to avoid the perception of sexism in “wom-e-n,” and also the word “waitron” is included to create a neutral gender term for the words waiter and waitress. There are a plethora of words in the English language and many of them fall in the category of biased and may be perceived as offensive to some, but the English language is not meant to offend but to show just how much the language has evolved over the years.

The language of today’s modern age may be construed as vulgar or rude, but that is not to say that we shouldn’t be proud of the development of the language today. Dictionaries are still being added to, and therefore enhanced. This is a sign that the generations that follow will have something to look back on to observe just how much they have progressed over the years. In the essay by Jake Sylvester, “The Evolution of English,” he discusses the use of new words and slang that are called upon for commercial advertisements such as Tim Hortons and the show Seinfeld. Brieanne actually did a very interesting blog about the origin of the name Tim Hortons. The English language should be treated as a privilege, and should not be used to purposefully offend anyone. However, the language shouldn’t be portrayed as something with restricted usage either, but instead indications of the growth, we as a society, have been witnesses to.

1 comment:

  1. I much prefer Kakutani's essay to Maggio's. Very good post.