Spelling and Grammar

I’m here in the Comm Suite at Spring Arbor and I’m copy editing. Well, at least, I was for a while…

It’s amazing to me how you can hear people speak through their written works. I’m sure everyone is somewhat familiar with this: you’ll pick up a letter from your grandfather to your grandmother, or see a birthday card from your mom, and when you read what is written, you’ll hear the inflection of the voice, the subtle pauses between words, the tone in which they speak, the rhythmic rise and fall of speech as it flows on paper…

It seems it a shame to read through an entire flow on paper, but not to enjoy–to correct.

Obviously, for the paper to become a credible source of information, it’s important to keep the writing of said paper to a standard that anyone and everyone can read. Still, I plan on getting a copy of this issue once it’s printed so I can enjoy it, but the journalist inside me will never let me read in peace. Once an editor, always an editor, I say.

More and more, I am able to appreciate the vast and sometimes subtle differences between the speech of one and the speech of another. The way people pronounce their “R’s” or their “W’s” or the “th” sound or the “d” sound. It strikes me that language is nothing more than sounds connected a certain way. The result is words. This is probably really obvious to some, but the fact that just now, I’ve come to appreciate it, it stands to reason that I’ve also obviously overlooked this tiny detail. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

But as I say, I’m reading through different stories of staff members, and I can hear the voices of those I know, but for those I don’t, I make a guess based on how they speak about their subject. Some people (I’m afraid I’m included in this number) generally have a very pompous manner in which they write. Very formal, very clear, etc. Some are more passive, almost as though they’ve written the story and are inviting your opinion on what they’ve written.

I’m striving to keep this blog informal, as though speaking to a friend over lunch, instead of writing to friends over cyberspace. I want this blog to be easy to read, and I want you, the reader, to be able to hear my voice when you read. I think the concept of language is such a profound thing, I want everyone to be able to appreciate it for the miracle that it is.

Have a wonderful day!

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One thought on “Spelling and Grammar

  1. Oh, Elise, my far-away friend. I like how you take notice of these things. It is quite nice to read a piece of literature from a friend and to be able to hear their voice emerge from the letters on the page. For example, if I say something like, “Hearken to Me, yon Vagabond!”, then you can hear my voice in that short exclamation.What about people who you aren’t close to? Does it work the same way? Do you know them well enough to imagine the movement of the mouths, or the song of their soul, or the rhythm of their…um…run? Personally, I can easily hear the words of those I love, but I think it gets a little harder with those I don’t know as well. Then, on a different foot, lies the style of the writing. Maybe how writers word their phrases also bring out the voice. For example, some people write as if it was a computer speaking (which happens all to often as we are forced to write correctly and objectively, as the analysis papers and I-Searches suck the blood from our veins). On the other hand, some of us write the way we talk. Mrs. Gum-Hales of freshman honors english labeled things in my writings as Schnaarsisms, or words and phrases that sound better in a speech than a paper. I would disagree with her, and say that everything sounds better in a speech than a paper. But that’s just cuz I like to be relaxed and personal in my literature.

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