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Charles Brockden Brown

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It could be the company I keep but I imagine the death of words is a much bigger issue and one that I am not alone in my heartache.  I’m reading a book right now called Edgar Huntly Or, Memoirs Of A Sleep-Walker by Charles Brockden Brown.  It was originally published in 1799, a time when language was a tool, an indication of education, and just plain pretty.  I admit that I struggle with some of the sentences because they are long and descriptive but they are so suggestive that the imagery is immediate.  The first two sentences indicate what is in store:

“I sit down, my friend to comply with thy request.  At length does the impetuosity of my fears, the transports of my wonder permit me to recollect my promise and perform it.”

My own use of the English language (in conversation) isn’t much better than most.  I swear too much, say “yeah” and “you know” too much.  Requests and comments are shortened to almost a grunt, while invitations, and queries whittled down to “what’s up” or worse, “s’up”.  Of course language has always been bastardized but now it is far more common everywhere.  Shouldn’t someone on television have regard for the English language?  Why and how did “where I’m at” become acceptable? Texting is the devil’s work in my opinion, crushing words and sentences to three letters while simultaneously destroying the posture of its victims.

I might say to my best friend: “It would be much easier to explain something to you if we were together, rather than my going on and on in an email.”

Or I could say:

“Wert thou present, the office to which my pen is so inadequate would easily be executed by my tongue.”

Of course my friend would probably say, “Huh?”

I miss beauty.