sarasusa: (The Crusher Reads)
[personal profile] sarasusa
Gah, it's been eons since I've posted. I check my friendslist daily (hi, y'all! ::waves::), but have kept mostly mum in my own journal. Though there's a lot I could talk about--things going on in my life, world issues I care about, fannish matters, library concerns--I don't feel cut out to be a steady diarist or commentator.

Oddly enough, what tends to stir me out of my accustomed silence is language itself.

I've become a "vigilante proofreader" of sorts. During the past month, I've posted on Tokyopop's website about several egregious typos in the latest Fruits Basket volume (an editor responded both promptly and satisfactorily). Subsequently, i made bold to fill out the comments form on Viz's ShojoBeat site, about typos I spotted in the latest Skip*Beat (no answer from them so far, which does not surprise me).

Why do I care about these mistakes? As a fan of each story, I want it to look its best; as someone concerned for literacy levels, I want manga series to be effective vehicles for language learning.

This impulse of mine goes deeper, though--it's rooted in the same part of me that craves frequent doses of Shakespeare, that purrs when I read a beautiful turn of phrase, that occasionally bubbles up into poetry.

Madeleine L'Engle commented in an audio lecture series that a language's vocabulary becomes smaller, poorer, as a result of wars.

Though I have no idea what data her assertion's grounded on, it feels emotionally true to me.

I envision each human being as a treasure chest of unique linguistic possibilities: as a steward not just of specific words but turns of phrase, particular sentence constructions, shades of meaning.

If someone's killed before they've had the chance to express themselves fully, those linguistic possibilities die with them. And those who survive...aren't there words, constructions, meanings they could only have shared with the people they've lost?

We're all keepers of language; wealth sits upon our tongues, waiting.

* * * * *

Much more than misspellings, the generalized gradual forgetting of some of the beautifully irregular verb forms troubles me.

Case Study #1: "He trods"; "trodding underfoot." Honor the full verb in all its beauty: tread, treading, trod, trodden!

Case Study #2: "Shined" may be acceptable in some instances, but not a replacement for "shone."

Case Study #3: "Slayed." Slay, slaying, slew, slain! (The lay/lie mistake makes me cringe as well, particularly when it shows up in a picture book by a well-known author, but at least it's more widely recognized as a problem.)

I'm no great arbiter of language, mind. I was going to talk about bid/bide/abide, then realized I actually have no clue how to conjugate abide. >_>

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