I have a good friend who also communicates for a living and she and I have a running discourse on dangling prepositions. You know, the common, “What are you here for?” rather than the more correct, “Why are you here?”. I have to admit about being somewhat of a purist while my friend is a bit more casual about the rule.
Actually, I believe the goal of good communications is to communicate, and as long as both parties understand the message, in my opinion, function strongly trumps form. I once spent a long weekend in Nagoya, Japan, a location with very few Americans and very little English. I got along quite well finding my way around town, ordering in restaurants, and even getting a broken nail fixed because both I and the people with whom I needed to communicate wanted the conversation to work. (Don’t try this in France.)
The fact is, I hold different standards for different types of communication. At the bottom is texting, a communication form in which anything goes. Next is conversation, followed by casual writing (social correspondence, blogs, emails), then business communication (both written and spoken). At the top of my standards list is any written material that is published, because let’s face it, these people get PAID to communicate. It irks me to see common spelling and grammar errors in publications or on television — you know the “its” vs. “it’s” and the prominent “insure” vs. “ensure” vs. “assure”.
One of my long-standing “quirks” is the pronunciation of the word “forte”, as in “It’s not my forte”, meaning that it’s not something you do well. The word is pronounced with a silent “e” (e.g., fort), although most people say “for-tay”. Dictionaries have caught up with this usage and have begun indicating acknowledgement that “for-tay” is more common in American English, meaning that it’s technically incorrect, but generally understood.
You can imagine my chagrin every time I see the Kia commercial for their new cars, the Forte and the Forte Coupe. I can’t help but wonder if the marketing gurus who named the car (or their highly paid ad agency) thought about the fact that they were incorrectly pronouncing the name of their cars. Someone should be taken out and flogged with their Funk & Wagnalls. (I actually have a set of Funk & Wagnalls and those of you who remember “Laugh In” will get the joke.)
In the grander scheme of things, this is all pretty immaterial stuff, but small things can make a big difference, such as signalling the declining levels of literacy in our society.
It reminds me of the story of the old priest who travelled to the Vatican to research the archives. He wanted to review the earliest original text — the ones that generations of monks used as the basis of their illuminated manuscripts and the later versions of holy texts. After a few days of research, the old priest was found sobbing in the hallway, and all he would say was, “They forgot the ‘r’; they forgot the ‘r’.” Not being able to comfort him or understand the problem, the Vatican staff took the old priest to the Pope. Finally, the Pope was able to calm the dismayed priest, who exclaimed, “They forgot the “r”! They forgot the “r”! The word is ‘CELEBRATE’!”
Here’s hoping that you find something to celebrate in your life today. And for those of you who were tuning in for words of wisdom on RA and other health issues, my apologies. Please stay tuned.
Thanks for checking in.