Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00
171,476 - 47,156. Wondering what these numbers represent? These totals are the enormous amount of vocabulary afforded to us, both full entries and obsolete, that exists in the Oxford Dictionary, 2nd edition. So, with all these choices why is it that a good amount of today’s population opt to express themselves, and I am being gentle when I identify their language usage as “colorful” at best?
Since the birth of cable television non-censorship seems to have morphed into a “right.” There are little to non-existent guidelines with content. Recently while tuning into a network program that is viewed at 9 p.m., appearing on the screen before the credits began to roll were warnings advising that mature content, violence, language, and sexual content would be part of this program.
Family comedy shows fare no better. The off-color language used by the adults as well as the children is disheartening. Late night talk shows have a delay to bleep out the guest’s salty language but the viewer is well aware what had just been said. Music, rap in particular, has been an offender of this abuse for years. In 1968, Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, revamped the rating system. Language as well as violence received ratings that informed patrons what to expect before taking in a movie or whether a feature was age appropriate for their children. Recently, when leaving a theatre after a “blockbuster” movie, I felt like I had been beaten up for two hours, since the use of four letter words was rampant. What ever happened to a good script with a solid story line? Young grade school children are encouraged to “use your words” when trying to express themselves. Good advice for all of us, after all with 171,476 - 47,156 words to chose from, we can surely face the days challenges with a less abusive use of the English language.
Aside from being thoughtful and considerate of others around you, a marked intelligence would seem to say volumes of who we are and how we have evolved.