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Mind your language, please

January 23, 2012

LANGUAGE has been known to be a distinctive biological faculty blessed only upon human beings to enable them to commune and reason for the sake of being social unlike animals. It is a sophisticated mental construct that helps define human beings and their thoughts in terms of linguistic evolution.

Language is an impressive device with each word containing an exclusive meaning to be tactfully engineered to produce a semantic effect needed to make up or change people’s mind about something in order to benefit them or save them an adversity.

Gone are the days when the language of our society had inviolability restricting its users within the parameters of its ethics and the set of rules.

People took pride in the wholesomeness of the language they used which gave birth to a cultured society.

It saddens one to learn that the current language practice stands deprived of the pure linguistic heritage once preserved.

Offensive use of language in our social circles has demoralised us to a great extent.

Obscene and often profane language used in foreign movies and songs and the abusive words uttered in our political talk shows have affected none more than our impressionable youths themselves who tend to pick up that disgraceful language unconsciously resulting in language attrition.

Children with an easy access to the media without any monitoring are prone to develop mediated language that may be racist or even sexist.

What a child hears in movies and songs may get repeated subsequently as children are often very creative with languages who may invent unique words or phrases to badmouth others. Such speech problems often lead to conduct problems.

We must distinguish between unacceptable and inappropriate uses of the language as the former is to be avoided in any case, but the latter is contextual depending on social settings.

Knowing that language knits social fabric, we must be circumspect about the type and quality of language we use, especially with growing children.

To cultivate and foster good language skills among us we must learn to take responsibility for the language we use, while assessing all the factors that negatively impact our language development and give rise to contamination in it.

Viewers picking foul language through television programmes reflect the failure of electronic media to instill proper language skills needed for a linguistically rich future generation that needs to integrate into the community with linguistic purism.

Taimoor Khan Karachi