Stephen Fry on the joys of language

I recently stumbled across a wonderful account of language from Stephen Fry and it got me thinking. It’s about time we all just relaxed about language a little, be it foreign or our own. Language isn’t about perfection. It’s about passion, expression and culture.

Let’s imagine a person, visiting your country for the first time, approaches you in the street and says, “Please the supermarket where is?” Yes, the words are in the wrong order, but does that matter as long you understand it? Who in their right mind wouldn’t point to the nearest shop?! We get very protective over using our language ‘properly’, but in the grand scheme of things, why do we let it bother us?

Similarly, we turn our nose up at people for using phrases such as ‘lol’ and ‘chillax’, but I certainly can’t remember anybody saying that the Oxford English Dictionary is full and no new words are allowed. As Stephen Fry says, we often forget that Shakespeare, whose work is pivotal to our language today, made words up. The world didn’t start with an already constructed dictionary, so why stop tomorrow’s people from expressing just how totes amazeballs their day was?

Lets playEveryday I enjoy language more. It’s wonderfully rewarding to be able to express your feelings and thoughts with other people. Being able to converse in other languages only broadens the amount of people you can share this with.

TIP! To those of you learning other languages, and I also say this to myself, don’t beat yourself up about getting things wrong or stress about the gender or tense of a word, just have fun, because that’s by far the best way to learn.

The fun way to learn a language

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Sam works in Marketing Communications in the automotive industry. She has a passion for language and is currently learning German, Spanish and French. When she’s not working or language learning, Sam enjoys skiing lessons, baking (and eating!), traveling the world with her husband and tweeting. Once she’s got to grips with a few European languages, Sam hopes to try her hand at Mandarin.

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