Saturday, April 06, 2013

English: grammar, logic and the kaduwa (sword)

Grammar is related to logic: it is about expressing ideas coherently. Words do not mean much unless someone can string them together in a coherent form to express an idea. Logic is about forming valid arguments, an understanding of the subject enables clarity in thought.

A lack of thought and an abundance of irrationality is one of the problems that is plaguing Sri Lankan society today, nothing illustrates this better than this article.

There are few comments claiming that the fascination with proper English betrays some colonial or western mindset, the very mindset that is preventing the masses from progressing. It is a popular argument that naturally appeals to Id rather than Ego.

The argument however is false, the article on the airport is so garbled as to be completely meaningless.  It is not a question of a few spelling mistakes or a few errors in grammar or a lack of style. If there was some real substance these could be overlooked. Ploughing through Nandasena Ratnapala's Beggar in Sri Lanka is undoubtedly painful but he does have an interesting methodology and his findings are revealing.

The airport article however would make little sense, I suspect, in any language. It says a lot about the state of the nation, not to mention the airport itself.        

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