7 June 2011 1 Comment

….lonely in the sea ….

Language is a funny thing. For many it is about being correct, for many others about being understood. Somewhere in between these positions,  a sea of misunderstanding can unintentionally be created.

I have brought my children up bilingually. The speak Dutch and English. Every now and then they say something which, grammatically or linguistically speaking, is not correct – but I know what they mean. I too am bilingual. Do I correct?, or do I encourage communication? When my son is ‘corrected’ in his English class because he used holiday instead of vacation … do I make a fuss, or do I take a moment to share that different people will use slightly different words to say the same thing, and what we have to listen to is the individual, the context, the whole, before we judge, correct, improve, let alone ‘understand’.

Language is a funny thing. It can simultaneously build bridges or create crevasses between people – the vessels of communication. ‘Incorrectly’ used, according to the linguists it may lead to misunderstanding. Creatively used, according to the culturalists, it could lead to moments of discovery. When asked to define an ‘island’ my son chose to say that this was a ‘land that was lonely in the sea’. He used his bilingualism, as well as multiculturalism to define something we ‘know’. He could have said, that an island was a land not connected to another piece of land ….. or surrounded by another land ….. to define what we ‘know’. Instead he came up with a definition which inadvertently leads to questioning, discovery … communication and interaction. Is he wrong? Literally speaking, no. Is he right? well …. can you define an island as lonely? Dialogue and discussion is created by the ‘creative’ use of language. Communication is achieved. Message is clear. An island stands separate, solitary as a piece of land at sea.

For some time I have been wondering, what does/should a copywriter blog about …. well, this was a no-brainer …. even if ‘mistakes’ are made, according to the linguists, these ‘mistakes’ may just encourage communication, dialogue and that is, after-all, what a copywriter wants to do: achieve a dialogue between those we write for and those they, in turn want to to reach.

So, even if I am not 100% correct in the use of my language, know that as a copywriter, I have another purpose.

One Response to “….lonely in the sea ….”

  1. g 21 July 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    excellent piece of prose…….if a cloud can be lonely (as in wandering etc etc) than so can an island 🙂


Leave a Reply

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box