Some see language as a tool of pragmatism. Something that will, much like the first car you get (or didn’t get, or wished you had) in college, help them get from point A to point B. I can see that. Makes sense. You have to get through the day, talking with all the people you need to talk to.
I never really thought about it that way, but when it comes to language I guess I’m much more romantically oriented than that. There’s a glorious and exquisite art that comes along with language, I believe. Words are not just as the pragmatist views them, a selection of banal curvy blots which are bandied about to pick some sociolinguistic padlocks. They’re purposeful and meaningful. They’re beautiful in their shape, and collectively, in their form.
Language, in all its lithe sensuous ways, is an active and invisible omnipresence without which we would be still, I dare say, trudging through the noisome muddy filth of the Middle Ages, wondering how we managed to show up in this god-abandoned reality. It is, I would argue, principally because of language, in all its agile beauty, that humanity has produced the civilized social corpus it has. Our transportation, our gastronomic blessings, our clothing, our games, our humor, the wonder of our kind, has largely language to thank.
Daily we can hear everything from the philistine “fuck you” to the comfy and linguistically aromatic “How do you do?” Brusque, rough, and rude, the hifalutin, the rich, the aristocratic, all intermingle within a wonderfully language-seductive brew.
I’m very happy to be even a mote of this sweet puzzling glue which ties us all to one another. What a wonderful thing.