Friday, January 09, 2009
Stephen Fry on language
Mr Fry does some marvellous podcasts. Some may go on a little too long perhaps and there are times I'd rather read his thoughts than listen to them. But the recent half hour podcast on Language is wonderful. And should you desire a written version on the subject - it is here.
Take this for example from the written version, as Mr Fry begins talking about his absolute joy of language and the pleasure in using it in all it's forms:
There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels and stories it seems. They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to? Do they? I doubt it. They’re too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer’s less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod them to Hades. They think they’re guardians of language. They’re no more guardians of language than the Kennel Club is the guardian of dogkind.
National treasure indeed.