I have some opinions about grammar and communication

I’m not a grammarian. I maintain that many grammatical rules guide clear, strong communication- others are just pedantic markers for status. It’s really interesting to me that many educated folks with massive lexicons and loads of knowledge can’t say anything memorable or really meaningful while other less educated folks with limited vocabularies have a real way with words and powerful insight. It’s often the case that when you’re emotionally overwhelmed grammar goes out the window- the shout for joy, the barbaric yawp, the speaking in tongues.

I wonder where is the voice coming from (for your consideration, that’s the title of a great Rudy Wiebe story, and, no, I’m not going to reorder and phrase that sentence so it doesn’t end in a preposition). That’s a really deep born or made sort of question I suppose. Well, every form of communication has benefits and constraints. What I like about people who have a way with words with a limited vocabulary is how it’s necessary for them to use words metaphorically with surprising and colourful combinations. I just think the grammarian impulse is often misdirected energy. If you care enough about that inchoate feeling or idea in your heart, you’ll get closer to that still small voice.


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