Thursday, September 23, 2010

Excellent speech becometh not a fool

A lot of what I write is the result of conversations that I have with people; whether inspiring, thought provoking or irritating. I was speaking to someone last week and I said that "I told so-and-so that I'd be there in the forenoon" and the person I was speaking to laughed me to scorn for using the term "forenoon". I wasn't trying to be quaint or deliberately old fashioned, "forenoon" is in common usage where I live. It might be the Amish influence, I don't know, but there it is. Folks here also use the word "already" where you would say "before" as in "I've canned tomato soup already and it turned out well......". I do use the word foreworn, it's listed as archaic in my dictionary, but I like it. It means worn out, as in "his coat is so foreworn that it's held together with patches". The English language has such a rich history and I'm afraid that though we add words to the dictionary every year, we are in actuality left with fewer ways to intelligently express ourselves. Vulgarity has replaced the adjective. I overheard a conversation that a man was having to his wife (she was a woman anyway..) they were bicycling and stopped for a rest and his conversation was peppered with like. Since when do grown men speak like Valley girls? It was funny in a pathetic sort of way.
I enjoy listening to F/friends who speak as the traditional Quakers did, I like to hear "thee needs some lunch", it has a beauty of its own. I don't personally speak that way, but I also have no desire to laugh at them for not updating their means of communication. I am also not suggesting that we have a mass exodus back to King James English (though I think we'd be better for it). I don't desire to live in the past, but the flip side is that I don't desire to fully fit in with the status quo either. It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. There are elements from the past that we would do well to keep alive and I'm trying in my own small way. Those who scoff at the past or at those who would maintain outdated customs show an alarming absence of wisdom.

Proverbs 17:7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.


  1. "Like" is a big pet peeve in our home. We often have to correct the children for using it constantly where it is not appropriate. Of course, I'm guilty of it myself, but I try to consciously avoid it. A lot of our language is being lost or changed because of technology. Think how the masses rely and speak with cell phones and texting, and the internet. And unfortunately, the public schools don't help things.

    Children are losing how to write our language too, they type everything and cursive is almost a lost art(at least around here). I know many high schoolers who can't even sign their name because they were not taught how.

    I wish we were neighbors, I think we would get along splendidly :)

  2. Amen sister! I have always cringed at the "like" and "you know" that punctuates the speech of society today; not to mention the half-words, like "whatev", and texting acronyms. I'm so glad you posted about this. :)


  3. Tiff,
    We just began teaching cursive before printing this year. I never knew that that's how it used to be learned and we've messed around with the process by teaching printing first. Hand writing is pretty important to us. :-)

    I didn't even know that "whatev" was used. We don't text so I'm afraid a lot of that is lost on me, but I'm glad you told me, it gives more force to my argument. :-) People are in too much of a hurry to say the whole l-o-n-g word, perhaps? How sad.

  4. Brings to mind several years ago when I called an office, inquiring after someone there. I asked, "Is he in his office yet." The person to whom I was speaking laughed and said,"You mean 'still', don't you?" Uh, no, I meant yet, which I thought was correct grammar as well. Perhaps I was wrong. All I know is, is ain't nice to laugh at someone's use of the language.

  5. excellent post. I am going to quote you!

  6. I agree with you wholeheartedly. It saddens me to read older literature and realize how much we are missing today. I wish we could embrace the language of long ago - it is so beautiful and expressive. There are only so many 'likes' that I can handle!

  7. I find that reading older books and the King James version of the Bible improves my speech dramatically. Reading classic literature helps in so many ways - speech, spelling, grammar.