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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
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November 30, 2023

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Misuse of language devalues self worth

I before E, except after C- unless said as “ay” as in neighbor or weigh.

The English language is filled with an extensive array of rules dictating correct spelling and grammar; however, in many cases, for every rule there is an exception.

Even the “I before E” rule comes with its own exception attached. And, this exception doesn’t even cover words such as “weird” that seem to follow no rule at all.

English is known for being one of the most difficult languages to learn. Not only do those who are learning English as a second language have difficulty mastering the vernacular, but numerous Americans struggle as well.

But today’s language quandary does not end with misspelled and mispronounced words or grammar mistakes. Now, society has introduced slang terms that often complicate the dilemma.

In recent years, the words “bootylicious,” “bling-bling,” “hottie” and “phat” have all been added to the dictionary.

The introduction of these fad words devalues the English language in some ways. Now, I admit that I also use slang terms, but what message are we sending as a society by considering some of these informal terms as actual, acceptable words?

We are guilty of devaluing the English language when we fail to recognize its importance.

One way we do this is by reassigning our own connotations to words and using them in a way that was not originally intended. For example, I get really annoyed when people misuse words such as “gay” and “retarded.”

I’m not overly concerned with the fact that people are failing to use politically correct terms, but rather often times, these words just aren’t used properly. Frankly, when such words aren’t used literally, it just sounds ignorant.

Take the following dialog for example:

“Hey. Do you want to go to the Cavs game with me?”

“No way man. Basketball is gay.”

“It is not! You’re retarded.”

Just because you disagree with someone does not mean that person is “gay” or “retarded.” These words, and others like them, are thrown around jokingly, but the misuse and abuse of such terms is really no laughing matter. It just shows how apathetic society has become, and it should not be tolerated.

We also shouldn’t tolerate self-degradation. When people use negative terms to refer to themselves in positive ways it’s demeaning and just encourages others to put us down.

Like the character Ms. Norbury says in the film “Mean Girls,” “You’ve got to stop calling yourselves sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

It all goes back to a lack of concern, which is unacceptable.

In the world today, communication is power. In many cases if you have money and a pretty face you can get far in life, but not if you fail to effectively communicate with others.

Money can buy many material items, but it cannot buy relationships with people. Money can even buy good looks, but I guarantee that regardless of how beautiful people may appear to be, they will not succeed in life if every time they open their mouths all they say is, “Duh…”

Communication is the most powerful tool that everyone possesses. Everyone can communicate regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, gender, economic status, or any other factor. And everyone’s words have the ability to cause change.

Communication is not limited to only words. Sign language can be just as effective in getting one’s point across. In fact, in the past, people communicated using guttural noises, drums, pictures and even smoke.

So it is easy to see that the ability to speak one’s mind is indeed powerful. And with this incredible power comes an equally great responsibility to use it correctly.

Therefore, it is very important that we are cautious when choosing each and every word that we say. We can easily lift people to new heights or knock them to the ground with a simple flick of the tongue, so we must harness our speech. My hope is that you will understand how powerful your words are and will truly mean what you say.

After all, as Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” And that has no exceptions.



Send Comments to Taylor Copeland at [email protected]



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