Misuse of language

Visualization of narrower problems
Degeneration of the spoken language
Abuse of language
Debasement of language
Imprecise language
1. The debasement of language, once it is used to obfuscate rather than to establish the truth, breeds cynicism. It may not be the sole cause of social decline, but it does contribute to this powerfully. Indeed the language of advertisers, of public relations and the carefully created 'image', which plays so prominent a role in the free world, has brought a new kind of insincerity into our lives. No generation has been so aware of the treachery in language when it is trusted too readily. Everywhere people have grown wary of rhetoric, now used in a derogatory sense. The very nature of language seems to oppress the mind with a burden of inherited prejudices and assumptions; it can be inert as well as sensitive to our human impulses; barbarous in its unexamined metaphors; constantly exposing the limitations of words as an instrument of thinking; opaque where it should be luminous, deceptively clear where there is confusion below the surface.

2. This has reached the point where, although a person will take more or less trouble to set down thoughts in writing, pride of speech is something almost unknown. Although people have been taught to avoid certain things in writing, this is for purely social reasons which have nothing to do with richness of sound or any other positive quality that language may have. And yet what a person speaks remains a far more significant factor in their life than the way that person writes, for it has an accumulative effect upon the soul which a little spasmodic penning can never have.

3. There must be in BAD language an impulse to deceive, to shadow the unpleasant, or promote the ordinary to the desirable or the wonderful. Pretentiousness and euphemism are the stigmata of verbal BAD -- thus a "great dining experience" for a great dinner. Simplicity is undesirable -- so "cocaine is a popular drug" becomes "cocaine is the drug of choice".

Reduced by 
(F) Fuzzy exceptional problems