Until I became a fan of The Beatles in around 2009, I always thought the word beetle (as in, insect) was spelled beatle. Even now, the 'correct' spelling looks strange to me and I guess that says a lot about the language; it is, after all, just nonsense. There is no reason one spelling of a word is right, and another wrong, other than the fact that a dictionary says so. In the past, a spelling which is incorrect today, may well have been one of the more common ones, not that the modern one would have been wrong, they just didn't care. I guess that system had its upsides and its downsides: on the one hand, reading would probably hard if somebody was spelling the word 'what' as 'whaghte' but, on the other, there'd be much less need for proof reading. Also, by the way, wouldn't it be cool to become so famous that your own version of a common word replaced the normal one in the minds of some people?
I've made this entry to clear up a few misconceptions about myself; as you may have gathered from other posts on here, there are a lot of things I choose not to take part in/do. Let me just list a few:
- Alcohol (and other recreational legal drugs)
- Eating meat
- Illegal recreational drugs
- Sexually explicit activities
Now the reason I don't do these things is because I don't want to. If you're a carnivorous Christian who likes to smoke weed, while drinking alcohol at a swinger's party, it doesn't bother me. Just because I don't DO the things on this list, it does not mean I don't APPROVE. Let me go through each point individually.
Firstly, alcohol. There are several things I don't like about alcohol: the taste, its effect on people and, well, no, that's about it. In the past I've been around drunken people a lot and it looks like one of the most embarrassing things in the world, to have yourself suddenly become so strange and erratic. I would much rather a drink a Trusty Water Bottle full of delicious water and remain perfectly level headed. As such, I choose not to drink any alcohol. Now, you might say "well you've never tried it, you don't know!" but I have tried it twice actually, and it wasn't very fun :(. Now, that's my reasoning behind not drinking alcohol, clearly it is all subjective, so why would I object to other people drinking it? I wouldn't. It would be wrong of me to disapprove of people drinking alcohol, because it is their free choice to do so and I would think it immoral to try and stop them. The same, as you can guess, is true of my view of illegal drugs. It would be wrong to stop people and prevent their free will. It may be against the law, but drug usage is perfectly fine in my eyes, so long as nobody other than the user is harmed.
Secondly, eating meat. Since I was a child, I have been a vegetarian; it was the choice of my mother. Since then, I have decided to stay a vegetarian for two reasons: the taste of meat makes me physically ill, and I do believe it is moral not to eat meat. But that's my decision based on studying the facts about it, other people may study the same thing and come to a different conclusion. When I see a friend of mine eat meat, I don't see them as morally inferior; I just see that they have decided differently to me. It would be wrong for me to eat meat, because I believe it is morally wrong to, but it would be fine for somebody else since, by their own moral code, it is fine.
Thirdly, religion. My view on the universe is this: there could indeed be some fantastical thing (perhaps God-like) behind all of the universe, but I don't believe that any of the world's religions (that I know of) are the correct answer and that science is the most likely route to the answer. After looking at all of the evidence, reading up on many different religions and philosophies from around the world and judging based on my own experience, I have decided this view is the one most likely to be correct. Other people have done the exact same thing as me, but to them it looks as if Christianity is the correct answer, or that Islam is the correct answer etc. I have no objections at all to people who follow religions and worship accordingly. Again, it would be against liberty for me to object to these views. However, having said that, I do object quite strongly to people who are taught blatantly false and offensive things through religion (e.g. anti-homosexual beliefs).
Fourthly, sexually explicit activities. I have no desire to take part in these, so I do not. Anybody else, I believe, should feel free to take part in these and do anything and everything they like with any consenting partner (so long as nobody is hurt by them). That's pretty self-explanatory really.
Finally, swearing. I get asked a lot by people if their swearing bothers me, and the answer is always no. Swear words are just words, and I take no offense at hearing them. I choose not to swear, because I try to make myself as inoffensive as possible and wouldn't like to offend anyone (I similarly do not blaspheme). How silly is it to object to people for just saying a word?
I hope this clears up so misconceptions it seems that some people have about me. It also may be good to bear in mind that not doing and not approving are different things when talking to somebody with a different point of view than you. (Not to sound arrogant of course, I’m sure that point’s obvious).
As I'm sure you know, there are some people who takes the Bible 100% literally, which, while not a bad thing on its own, can lead homophobic hate crime and other disagreeable things. So, for today’s entry. So to criticise this point of view, I am going to use The Bible (and no other sources) to create an argument that the word of God, should you believe it exists, cannot be found through the Bible.
Let me quickly explain the start of Genesis for those of you not wholly familiar with it: God makes the world, then he's kind enough to take one of Adam's ribs and turn it into a woman (Eve). Adam and Eve have fun in the Garden of Eden, but then an evil serpent (some say it was supposed to be the devil... I think that that is a bit unlikely) persuades Eve to eat from the one tree God told her not to eat from and then she persuades Adam to do the same. God feels sad about this so he banishes them from the garden and puts them out into an imperfect world. God also makes Adam and Eve imperfect, they don't like being naked and will one day die. One crucial thing, though, is that Adam and Eve still speak the perfect Original Language.
A couple of years down the line some humans decide to build a tower so tall that it goes all the way to the heavens. God gets upset about this, so he decides to curse humanity so that different groups people have different languages. With the creation of the different languages the Original Language was lost forever, and that would have been the only perfect language, and therefore the only way that facts and information can be truly and properly conveyed.
Now, if the only way to properly convey things infallibly is with the Original Language and the Bible is NOT written in that perfect language then surely The Bible is fallible? So maybe the Ancient Hebrews, when the time came to write The Bible, found that they had no way to explain what actually happened in their own language and so, instead of writing divine truth, filled it with all kinds of violence and injustices that were common in that historical context? I hope this argument hasn't offended anybody, I have tried to argue using only The Bible as a source in the hope that I will not stray in my argument.
Just a quick entry for today, and after today I'll only be updating this on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Occasionally there might be exceptions, but that'll be the usual.
Anyway, one thing that I noticed recently is the rather strange way that language is treated in works of science-fiction. Now, as I'm sure you already know, the language of the past was a lot more formal than the language of today (especially the 18th/19th centuries), but in most pieces of science-fiction, when the future is shown, the language seems to be shown as the same as language from the past. I think what this mainly shows is the difficulty of imagining the ways in which our language will change and so the writer's thought process is something like this "I wonder how people of the future will talk? Well, if I move backwards through time by a hundred years they talk formally, so if I move forward by a hundred years they probably do the same!" but really I think it's quite wrong to assume the language will become much more formal, I think it'll be the reverse of true (not that I think Text Language or l33t 2p3@k will come the norm) but I just think it'll become more informal in ways we don't really imagine at the moment. Personally, I think that the way we write will become more and more like the way that we speak, but definitely not more formal!
As I may have mentioned on here before (though I'm not that sure that I have) I did A Level English Language. In the A2 half of the course (or 'second' half for those unfamiliar with A Levels) you have to carry out a language investigation. What this quite literally means is find any piece of written language (transcript, script, novel, magazine, MSN conversation etc) and then investigate it. By 'investigate it' I mean that you must apply the theories of various linguists and make your own theories about the particular text you have.
Now, as I'm somebody who really enjoys reading, I decided I would do my investigation on some area of literature. Luckily I had recently finished reading the book American Supernatural Tales which is an anthology of horror stories written throughout history by Americans (it's really good, if you're interested, you should buy it!). At the time, aside from coursework, we were also studying the theories about the ways that language changes over time and the reasons behind it, so I thought, as the book had several stories from a period of about two hundred years, I could apply these theories to it.
However, my English teacher warned me that my study might be verging more into an English Literature area of study rather than an English Language one. This meant that she kindly did several after-school English sessions so that I could ensure that I was writing about English Language points and not English Literature points.
I remember I had written something that wasn't very good and was very English Literature-y so my teacher was explaining specific kind of points I could make: "One thing that you can see is the way that, in older stories, there is clearly a much more formal tone. I mean, it's most clear when you look at children's literature, compare Treasure Island (another good book!) which opens with some large fourteen line paragraph or something like that, to the opening of Holes (a third good book!) which just starts with 'There is no lake at Camp Green Lake'! it shows that the people of today have much lower expectations of children than they did in the past. Children's novels written roughly a hundred years ago are still read and enjoyed by adults today, showing that there's a drastic difference between the reading ability of children of the past than of today."
Then my good friend, who was also in the room, interjected with a really hilarious observation about it "Nah it doesn't," she said "it just shows that adults of today are as intelligent of the children of the past!"
I found this song recently, please take a listen to it:
What did you think of the song? When I first listened to it, I thought "Hmm, what a nice song about friendship..." then along came the line "darn, I wish I was a lesbian so I could fall in love with you" and suddenly the song seemed to 'rub me the wrong way' as the saying goes. I mean, think about it, would any of you (my readers) really want to change sexuality so that you could have that kind of relationship with your best friend?
The problem is, I think, that the word 'love' in English is used to mean too many things. You love your family, you love your friends and you also love a particular person who you want to spend as much time with as possible. But, despite using the same word, all three of these things are almost entirely different. Let me explain using diagrams, here is the Love Spectrum:
It shows clearly all the different kinds of love that there are and also names them each. Now I will use the Love Spectrum to show why the song is weird, this is what will happen if you are heterosexual and share a friendship with somebody. This is the first stage (after leaving acquaintanceship):
Then as years go by and the friendship becomes closer this will happen:
As you can see, as time goes by, the relationship stretches into the 'frove' section but is still quite a distance from the 'love' section. That woman wishing she was a lesbian with her best friend is like wishing you weren't related to one of your siblings so you could start a Lover Love relationship with them. But I know some people will say "but best friends do fall into the Lover Love section sometimes" and it's true, they do. But that only happens if they are of opposite genders and heterosexual, or, indeed, of the same gender and homosexual. In that case the frove stretches to love and then back to fove, covering the whole spectrum. Only when love is reached can the whole thing be covered.
Sheesh, I started this entry thinking it was a good idea, but now I'm thinking it turned out one of my worst ones! Oh well, I hope you enjoyed the song. Also, some of you may say that I missed out sexual love, but that's just gross and there's no place for it in my blog. Think about it, sexual love becomes 'Lex' and Lex is the first name of Lex Luther (a super villain) so I guess that just proves it.
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