Stephen Fry on Language

On Language

(So, to the pedants I say)

Dive into the open flowing waters and leave the stagnant canals behind, but above all, let there be pleasure. Let there be textural delight, let there be silken words and flinty words and sodden soaking speeches. Crackling utterance, and utterance that quivers and wobbles like rennet. Let there be rapid fire-cracker phrases and language that oozes like a lake of lava.

Words are your birthright; unlike music, painting dance, raffia work, you don’t have to be taught any part of language nor buy any equipment to use it. All the power of it was in you from the moment the head of daddies little wiggler fused with the smooth wall of Mummies little bubble!

So use it, use it: if you’ve got it use it. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t believe it belongs to someone else. Don’t let anyone bully you into believing that there are rules and secrets of grammar and verbal deployment that you were not privy to. Don’t be humiliated by dinosaurs into finding yourself inferior because you can’t spell broccoli or moccasins.

Just let the words fly from your lips and your pen, give them rhythm height and silliness, give them filth and form and improbable stupidity. Words are free, and all words light and frothy, firm and sculpted as they may be; air the history of their passage from lip to lip over thousands of years. How they feel to us now, tell us whole stories of our ancestors.

–Stephen Fry

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