This blog features a Language Calendar, and it includes 23 April – English Language Day (UN). Why was 23 April chosen for this, and why have an English Language Day to begin with? As a World Language, English is important enough as it is. So this year, we thought we’d like to promote the CORRECT use of English for a change by having a Correct-your-English Language Day instead.
Just for this one day, we encourage you to avoid making grammar or spelling mistakes, and to just use words in their precise, etymological meanings (as writers of usage guides tell us to do). Just for a day, avoid splitting your infinitives, put only only in its proper place, avoid Americanisms (or Britishisms, as the case may be), say I shall instead of I will, use whom for a change, spell focussing (focusing?) correctly, and for goodness sake, just for once avoid using literally as a general intensifier. And while you go about it, point out such mistakes to others when they make them.
Let us have Correct English, even if it is for one day only.
And then: tell us all about what all this did to you. Did all this language awareness make you speak better English and write better texts? Or were you relieved the day was over, so you could go back to being as sloppy in your linguistic habits as usual? Did people like you better for telling them if they made a grammar mistake? Did you discover what your own pet linguistic peeves are compared to those of others? Did you have any interesting discussions about language use and linguistic correctness?
Please share your experiences on our Bridging the Unbridgeable Blog. We are a project at the University of Leiden Centre for Linguistics doing research on English usage guides and English usage problems, and are especially interested in what the general speaker thinks of particular usages that have been experienced as problematical for many, many years. If you wish to see what such usages are, have a look at our usage surveys (and fill them in for us, either before or after 23 April! you will find them here), and if you wish to have language advice, make use of our Hyper Usage Guide of English, our HUGE database. Access is free upon application.
You can leave your comments by clicking on the title of this post (in the special field at the bottom headed Leave a reply). We hope to receive many of them. And meanwhile: