Dear Monique: Excellents points. It is probably the
dumbing-down of modern day language is in the simple fact
that we over-simplify the English language in works of
Nothing is inherently wrong with simple language; it
promotes communication between a wide range of interest
groups. However, there may be a need to over-simplify
language in fiction to the point of stupifying the
language. Words are like gems that flavour the subjective
content of a work. Contrastly, words are specific to the
topic being discussed as you had demonstrated with Hegel,
Kant, Satre, etc. with the fine examples cited.
To personalize a novel, the author can use various
stylistic leanings, both personal and historical. It is a
matter of taste, and the educational background of the
reader as to which kind of novel they choose to read.
Personally I like a fast read, as I am a multi-tasker and
cannot stand being stuck on a word. Big words are not
fitting with the common vernacular of the day. Most fiction
is popular by far and this is the taste of the land.
At times I appreciate the unique speech of another
specialized area, say, Philosophy for example. It will take
me hours to figure it out. It is in this way, frustrating
to some extent. However, the end result is a wider
comprehension of the world's intellectual thought. This is
usually way over my head unless simplified as per
Intellectual Treatise for Dummies.
Language keeps evolving or de-evolving depending on the
readers point of view. Some use plain speech like
Hemmingway, or much more flowery speech, like Jane Austen.
Jane Austen's times were so suffocatingly misogynist that I
did not like reading her novels without feeling a great
deal of feminist angst and disgust.
Could anyone find reference to a current author who uses
esoteric and rarely used words? There are not many writers
today who choose to use a wide spectrum or full Oxford
dictionary, unabridged edition in their novels. It would
not be profitable because the writing style does not appeal
to the wide audience, for this reason I agree. Conversely,
intellectual pursuits should not limit the author/artist.
However, authors must eat. We know the winner here; the
colloquial Funk and Wagnalls or worse yet, slang dictionary
perusal by numerous authors. Such flowering writing should
come with a disclaimer; Beware; The contents of this novel
is limited to, but not emcompassing all aspects of language
which reaches beyond the boundaries of the contempary
speech known today.
Indeed new words should be made to amaze and astound the
masses not to confound and frustrate the common everyday
and everyperson reader.
In this regard language and its usage or non-usage does
prove the point that language is tied to status, and other
societal constraints. Comprehension of those of certain
"snob" status are limiting to the community as a whole.
In today's global village we need to communicate quickly.
This light-speed need to communicate may be the reason why
readers choose fiction with limited vocabulary. We read
fiction in the US and Canada as easy-read because time is a
significant factor in our enjoyment and our collective
empowerment as a nation. We want to share jointly together
and this is why there is often outrage and disdain when a
new word with so called "snob appeals" appear in a text.
This is a theoretical analysis of why we choose or do not
choose to include word variety in speech. Like multiple
flowers in the garden, we can choose resplendent colour
language or simple black and white journalistic writing.
However I have noticed some journalist feeding the
intellectual need by inserting academic words from time to
time in their journalistic reporting. Is this true Mike
Easy read fiction is not purely for lazy reasons alone. We
need easy reading material because we need instant access
to the thought process and need quick judgement of thought
The reading public are, for the most part,just being too
laxidaisical to pick up a dictionary or click and point to
Meriam Webster or my favourite Free Dictionary online.
Like fast food we want a fast read, and so we limit our
comprehension and our over-all collective intelligence
median IQ. Some plain food for thought from a plain Jane
albeit Jane Austen wannabe! jajo