A while ago, I realized that while Needle, Meet Haystack may be my personal view on things, it isn’t the only view. So every other Friday, you’ll be getting the chance to read some awesome guest posts from some truly excellent people – the Needle, Meet Haystack Guest Blogger Club.
Mehnaz Thawer, of Speak Softly and Carry A Red Pen (formerly Strawberry Ghetto), blogs about language, business, pop culture, and the struggles of being an introvert. When she’s not busy proving that Canadians can be way more awesome than one might expect, Mehnaz works as a freelance writer and editor. Her post today happens to be one of my favorite subjects: language and writing.
I love language. I love everything about it from syntax to semantics. I’m a big fan of grammar and clever usage. I sometimes write down words I think are kind of fun on sticky notes so I can use them later. My friend once did one of those “most likely” quizzes on Facebook, and voted me “most likely to correct your grammar.” I have a shirt that says “Thesaurus Rex.” It’s pink.
By the time I was in nursery school, I spoke 3 languages. By the time I hit the end of elementary school, I was well on my way to 5. Granted, now I don’t use some of those languages as much, I still enjoy being able to converse in them on occasion.
I once turned down a date (editor’s note: less SFW example here) because the fellow made a rather monumental mistake in a message he wrote to me. Harsh? Probably. But he also used animated emoticons every few words, and after reading a few lines, I had a headache. It was warranted.
Grammar geeks kind of get a bad rap these days, even though there are so many of us wandering around with our red pens. Yeah, we can be a bit annoying sometimes, especially when we’re on edge. But we do a good service to humankind on some days.
I can’t point to exactly when I became a lexophile, but words make my heart go pitter-patter. There is nothing more impressive to me than someone who can throw down on the New York Times crossword puzzle. I love the flexibility of language, and how words constantly change as they make their way into our mass usage. Who knew “text” would become a verb, or for that matter “tweet” (still not as annoying as “facebooked” – yuck!)
Language is important to me. I sometimes cringe when people make mistakes, but I am by no means the authority on it. I don’t make (too many) judgments of people when they don’t know what something means, or spell a common word wrong. That would be annoyingly erudite.
Now you don’t have to be some kind of super-genius to enjoy language or even to use it. If this made me sound hideously high-brow, I didn’t mean it to. We read and use language every day in so many ways. For those of you who aren’t “readers,” I’m sure you’ve read your horoscope once in a while or caught headlines while in line at the bank.
Appreciate your language, what ever it is, and learn to love the grammar nerds in your life. In some ways, we both entertain you and save your asses on occasion. The next time you are trying to impress a date with something poetic or need a read-over on a presentation, remember we’re always lurking behind the words somewhere, saving the world from errant commas!