This post was originally written on September 24, 2007. Since this was the week I decided to learn to write and his lordship was released on bail I decided to edit and re-post it here:
Regardless of how one feels about charges and verdict against Conrad Black, his mastery of the English language can not be disputed. Ian Brown of the Globe and Mail interviewed Lord Black in the spring of 2007. I found Black’s comments on vocabulary noteworthy and quote them here.
A lot of linguists say we don’t need to teach standard or normative vocabulary because there’s no such thing – everyone learns the words they need for the circles they inhabit. Standard vocabulary, to these people, is undemocratic. Any opinion?
People should be encouraged to expand and use their vocabularies in unpretentious ways, to arm them as well as possible to communicate and to understand their language as well as possible.
The alternative view is just part of the vulgarization and mediocritization of everything and the triumph of a few trendy cultural charlatans at the head of a population of Philistines. Any such trend should be resisted.