Letter to Editor: Belinda Webb
Belinda Webb’s article is highly accurate and well thought out. Her points are viable, logical and clear; they are consistent and her views are indisputable as she does not show any doubt or contradiction. All of this brings you to the unavoidable conclusion that it can only be the truth. When you place this next to the mess that is Isabelle Kerr’s article it is easy to identify who is providing the more astute points. This is because Isabelle is unable to give her points valid backup.
She starts off by saying what she disagrees with by criticising some of the people who oppose her views. She then very creatively uses slang in her writing to introduce her views ‘This kind of talk has got me well vexed’. This shows that unlike other writers she has a vast knowledge of the point she is arguing for and that she has spent time researching and looking at other arguments. She then progresses on to say that slang is not a sign of stupidity but a sign off creativity and innovation. ‘It demonstrates inventiveness and quickness of thought’. This point is then backed up by a reference of the British Library which has an exhibition on evolving English. ‘Types of slang can be seen as distinct dialects’ This is correct as dialects are a variety of language with its own words and grammar which is a very accurate description of most slang. It is only because there is a large society of people who cannot understand and relate to this language that it is exiled and looked down on. People fail to look at the fact that it must take a high level of intelligence and sophistication to develop a dialect that such a large group of people can interact with. Slang is not created by people’s inability to say standard English words, it was created by choice which means that there is a reason each word is created. It is often the case that slang is simply abbreviated words, which, when looking at written communication, is only a logical thing to do because it can be written much faster, saving a lot of time when you plan to send multiple messages. In terms of verbal abbreviations this is just another way of communicating more efficiently and saving time. In most cultures there is clear differences in language that is used for casual conversations and language that is for more formal talk.
On the other hand Isabelle Kerr’s article is contradictory and most of her points are invalid. Throughout the article she criticises the use of slang saying the new words are pointless, however these words are clearly the opposite of pointless as most slang is created purely for convenience. Throughout time slang has always been developed for a purpose even if these were sometimes negative. For example Cockney Rhyming Slang was invented as a completely new dialect so that the thieves of East London could speak in front of the police and anyone eavesdropping without them necessarily being able to understand what they were saying. She constantly attacks the word “twerking” saying that it is “bizarre”, “nonsensical” and “downright pointless”. The word itself is a noun that has been created to label a new form of dance. At some point all well-known forms of dance were given an official name and eventually added into the dictionary. Saying that this word is a noun is enough evidence on its own to counter it being pointless, because if a word is used as the name of something it quite obviously has a use. She later compares it to the word “twere” as it is next to it in the Oxford Dictionary. She says it is an “archaic word reminiscent of an era of great language and literary triumph”, this word itself was originally slang as it is a shortened way of saying “it were”, once again showing her inability to research her points before making them. At the end of her article, she says “Shakespeare will be turning in his grave”. This statement sums up the whole of the article as it makes absolutely no sense. Shakespeare is well-known for bringing many common slang words from the street into the standard English language through the success of his plays. If Shakespeare was alive in this era he would be in complete support of slang and would probably play a major role in making slang words more formally recognized.
To conclude, Belinda Webb has written an article that is all round valid and it conveys a selection of well prepared arguments backed up by solid evidence. This is considerably more than what you can say about Isabelle Kerr’s article which provides none of the above and is in some places painful to read. After reading both of these texts it is almost inevitable that a reader would be in support of slang if they were not already.