Friday, June 08, 2007

Usage and Abusage

Language is an interesting tool. Using language, we can communicate with each other, and generally can be understood. We can express hopes and joys, fears and sadness, and so many other emotions. However, it can also be used in a negative way, as we've seen in the recent Big Brother incident.

Even without having watched that programme, it is obvious that language is being used in a negative and offensive way. No one should be abused because of their race - or on any other grounds. Thankfully Channel Four has acted swiftly this time to prevent it all getting out of hand.

But what I am left asking is this - is there a hierarchy of offensive language? Is it more offensive to use inappropriate language against one group or section of society than against another? Racial slurs and abuses are wrong. No doubt about it. Yet within Big Brother and many other programmes on TV we see offensive language and nothing is done about it.

How many times have you heard someone take the name of the Lord Jesus in vain? Or exclaimed the name of God? Have such examples passed into common parlance and are ignored now? Such a step is to be pitied, because in seeking to not offend some religious or ethnic groups, others are offended wholesale.

'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.' (Exodus 20:7)

1 comment :

  1. As a scientist, I must agree that language use is important, as only precise language permits us to communicate concepts clearly.

    And as a human being, I must also agree that language usage is key to human relationships. I have found that lack of adequate thought before speaking can lead to tensions between people, tension that if not diffused can degenerate into a never ending spiral of incomprehension.