Sunday, March 22, 2009

Speak In One Tongue

Language rarely heard have always got the better of me. I always had this burning desire to speak them, particularly when my travel stints exposed me to the strangest of tongues. Language CD's didn't help me a lot. The thing about languages is that though you may be gifted with the art of penmanship, spoken word skills are mostly inherited or acquired after birth. I have always packed my dog-eared phrasebook :-) along with my tooth-brush and shaving cream for my travels. These haven't helped me much either, often eliciting that controlled giggle or even outright laughter at my stuttered attempts.

Printed words won't tell you that Thai is a tonal language with grammatical mine-fields or Mandarin and Cantonese have a lilt to them flowing like Indian ink applied with a Chinese brush.

These city councils argue that they needed to create a language devoid of such linguistic minefields. However, there could be far-reaching consequences in the professional community. Just like abstruse scientific papers and brain-twisting mathematical theorems, legal documents are made to sound so pompous with Latin words sprinkled generously all over those reams of printed matter. With Latin slowly oozing out of our English dictionary out lawyers will be hard-pressed to retain their mystifying "Status Quo"

Or should we now say 'current situation"?

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