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Language Terms and Conditions

Before reading any other content on this site, it would be very useful (I would even say mandatory) to read this one first — especially if you are the kind of person who would attempt to correct the title of this post by claiming there should be a comma after the word “Language”.

If that’s the case, you are WRONG! Well… relatively speaking anyway.

This post is about the terms and conditions of reading any post found in the Language category. It is NOT a list of subjects in this post. If it was, I would concede the comma point, but I would also add, preferentially, a comma after “Terms” — like this: “Language, Terms, and Conditions”

Yes, I said preferentially. Because it is a preference to use the additional comma after the next-to-last item in a comma-separated list. Here is ONE site supporting that usage: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm.

You see where this is going yet? I hope so. If not, I will explain it in the next sentence. Language is liquid.

It is the collection of communication by humans living and dead, educated and uneducated. It is subject to opinion by every single one of those humans who has ever used it. Improper use of language is no longer improper once it has been accepted as proper. Even when it doesn’t get accepted it is still valid and viable when it accomplishes the goal of communication on the terms of the speaker.

If you aren’t familiar with Stephen Fry, this is a MUST SEE video (seriously, I don’t think it would be effective for anyone to continue reading anything on this site without watching this video):

Before I continue, I want to concede this point first: it is often not useful to let language be loose and flabby. One story of the Buddha regarding his moment of enlightenment claims he was meditating by a river and heard a music teacher lecturing his student about the strings on a sitar. “If you tighten the strings too much, they will break. Not enough, and they won’t play.”

…….. So don’t roll out a dictionary — a dictionary documents the usage of language. It does not dictate usage unless designated and conceded to by all parties.