I hav beleevd for many years that th clarity of one’s languaj corelates (both ways) very much with how clearly one thinks, hence th name of my blogs. I hav howevr not spent so much time arguing th point. Th reesn is that i got th idea from taking part in a very larj numbr of debates/discusions both on th net and verbaly. I hav thot about som principls/guidelines that one cud folow to avoid making th mistakes that so many make. I havn’t been abl to com up with som strict guidelines, but i hav red a numbr of useful texts on th subject. In som of th texts, ther ar som proposd guidelines/rules for riting/thinking in a betr languaj. In som othr of th texts, ther ar no such guidelines but th text contains eethr discusion of th topic or just lots of exampls of bad languaj.

Th list

Th first text is by Richard Dawkins and is a book review:

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/824-postmodernism-disrobed

It is a review of this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Intellectual-Impostures-Alan-Sokal/dp/1861976313?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175453315&sr=8-2

wich is ritn by (among othrs) th person who’s name this embarasmnt is named aftr:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

I havn’t red th book yet (i want to), but it seems worthwile.

Somone clevr rote an algorithm that rites a new non-sens/meeningles esay every time one refreshs th paj. It is gramaticly corect and contains lots of refernces to similrly bad texts by prominnt authrs. Myt one actualy fool somone with such an esay? Yes! Sadly, i hav don it quite a few times. Peepl ar way too eesy to fool with texts with pretentius and bad languaj that contain nothing but sofistry.

http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

Th next text is by George Orwell, th ritr famous for “1984”. It has som useful rules worth keeping in mind.

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

“(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.“

Th next text is by Bertrand Russell, th famous british filosofr. It is mainly som descriptions of his thots about riting, but it does contain som useful guidelines worth thinking about.
http://www.davemckay.co.uk/philosophy/russell/russell.php?name=how.i.write

“There are some simple maxims-not perhaps quite so simple as those which my brother-in-law Logan Pearsall Smith offered me-which I think might be commanded to writers of expository prose. First: never use a long word if a short word will do. Second: if you want to make a statement with a great many qualifications, put some of the qualifications in separate sentences. Third: do not let the beginning of your sentence lead the reader to an expectation which is contradicted by the end. Take, say, such a sentence as the following, which might occur in a work on sociology: “Human beings are completely exempt from undesirable behaviour-patterns only when certain prerequisites, not satisfied except in a small percentage of actual cases, have, through some fortuitous concourse of favourable circumstances, whether congenital or environmental, chanced to combine in producing an individual in whom many factors deviate from the norm in a socially advantageous manner”. Let us see if we can translate this sentence into English. I suggest the following: “All men are scoundrels, or at any rate almost all. The men who are not must have had unusual luck, both in their birth and in their upbringing.” This is shorter and more intelligible, and says just the same thing. But I am afraid any professor who used the second sentence instead of the first would get the sack.”

Th next text is by David Stove, a rathr stranj filosofr. It is a part of a book he rote wich i havn’t red, but is considring reeding. Th text is rathr long and rant-ish, but does contain a lot of exampls of bad languaj use/filosofy.
http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~jim/wrongthoughts.html

And his book:
http://www.amazon.com/Plato-Cult-Other-Philosophical-Follies/dp/0631177094
Th next text is a critiq of filosofy in jenrl. It contains som useful insyts.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/4zs/philosophy_a_diseased_discipline/

Th last text is about how to fix th situation. It is a method to avoid pointles languaj confusion or useles semantic discusions.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_words/

Som words that one may considr stoping to use and replacing with othr words:

  1. Objective
  2. Subjective
  3. Free will

ETA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbosity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elegant_variation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleonasm

0 Comments

Leave a Reply