Friday, 28 February 2014

The 'i's Have More

SPEAKING OF CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT OUR LOVELY OLD LANGUAGE, i was thinking briefly about the English language's classification of 'proper' nouns.

The word 'proper' is quite archaic when you think about it in the sense of 'correctness with regard to social etiquette' rather than in the sense of an intensifier, i.e. 'proper good'.

OED Online says of 'proper' in the grammatical sense that it is "denoting possession by or relation to a particular person or thing... a particular person, place, country, title, etc."

Now you may be wondering why i'm on about all this. The capitalization of these 'persons', countries and, especially, 'titles' (Lord, for example) all suggests an elevation of some people above a level that's not open to the 'common' folk. When a noun is not 'proper' it is 'common', a word which carries a more direct connotational judgement.

I know everyone's names are capitalized, but i argue that even this is part of an inherent human narcissism, trying to elevate anything in the cult of humanity to that above other things in the world. Grammatical propaganda, so to speak.

I just think it's like our sewer systems, outdated and not fit for the modern way. The modern way should be about togetherness: love and peace. It seems to go against this that we label countries and certain titles as 'proper' and leave the rest as 'common'. Make everything the same - don't increase the judgement, just the love. It's not as if it would make things less understandable. Or even, as a half-way option, just change teaching kids that there are 'proper' and 'common' classes (as that could condition their thoughts about the world), call them something else - 'specific nouns' and 'broad nouns' or something like that (replacements for 'proper' and 'common' respectively).

I realise how trivial this may seem, but it was a thought that occurred to me. Peace out.

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Just keep it clean (ish)!