Two wonderful takes on the Eighth Deadly Sin. Enjoy.
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A hat tip to Mrs. Librarian (who keeps me Playful) for pointing out an excellent article in Sunday's Boston Globe by the lexicographer and editor of VERBATIM magazine Erin McKean.
Clearly not a linguistic prescriptivist, McKean reminds us that language is a living thing created by the human imagination to represent ourselves in relationship to the world around us. Indirectly, McKean's argument also highlights that long before the Web or email, language was the first meme generator.
Though some language may be more or less appropriate given certain circumstances, hence the need for an evolving standard all-purpose lexicon, all that ultimately matters is that our words carry meaning and convey understanding. That is the essence of language—meaning, understanding, appropriateness—not whether it is somehow official.
And if someone uses the official-language argument on you, you should wonder why they're trying to control meaning.