I've watched this video at least ten times ! It's a treat ! Listening to to the voice, to the English language, to the words and their meaning and watching this kinetic typography animation is a sensual pleasure ! I loved it and hope you will enjoy it too.
For further dicoveries, please click on the links below :
Because I really enjoyed it, I've written down the text and translated several words (*)
Language by Stephen Fry
For me, it's a cause of some upset* that more Anglophones don't enjoy language.
Music is enjoyable it seems, so are dance and other athletic forms of movement....
People seem to be able to find sensual* and sensuous* pleasure in almost anything BUT words these days.
Words it seems belong to other people. Anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight* and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted* or disliked than welcomed.
The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elistist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother* with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters* and newspapers in which they are rude* and haughty* about other people's usage and in which they show off* their own superior « knowledge » of how language should be. I hate that and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I'm on their side. When asked to join in a « let's persuade this supermarket chain to get rid of their « five items or less » sign, I never join in. Yes, I am aware* of the technical distinction between « less » and « fewer » and between « uninterested* » and disinterested* » and « infer* » and « imply* » and all the rest of them but none of these are of importance to me, none of these ARE of importance I said there, you'll notice the old pedantic me would have insisted on « none of them IS of importance ».
(…) But I'm glad to say that I've outgrown* that silly approach to language.
Oscar Wilde and there have been few greater and more complete lords of language in the past thousand years, once included with a manuscript he was delivering to his publishers a compliment slip* in which he had scribbled* the injunction « I'll leave you to tidy up* the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches » etc....which gives us all encouragement to feel less guilty*, don't you think ?
There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels* and stories it seems. They whip out* their Sharpies* and take away* and add* apostrophes from public signs, shake* their heads at prepositions which end sentences and muttter* at split infinitives* and misspellings* but do they bubble* and froth* and slobber* and cream with joy at language ? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy* euphoric bliss* ? Do they ever yoke* impossible words together for the sound-sex of it ? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle* those they talk to ? Do they ? I doubt it. They're too farting busy sneering* at a greengrocer's less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod* them to Hades. They think they're guardians of language, they're no more guardians of language than the kennel club is the guardian of dogkind. The worst of this sorry bunch of semi-educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense* and deaf* to language development do you have to be ? If you don't like nouns becoming verbs then for Heaven's sake*, avoid Shakespeare who made a doing-word out of a thing-word every chance he got. He tabled the motion and chaired the meeting in which nouns were made verbs. I suppose new examples from our time might take some getting used to. « He actioned it » that day for instance might strike* some as a verbing too far but we've been sanctioning, envisioning, propositioning and stationing for a long time so why not « actioning » ? Because it's ugly whinge* the pedants ; well it's only ugly because it's new and you don't like it. Ugly in the way Picasso, Stravinski and Eliot were once thought ugly and before them Monet, Mahler and Baudelaire. Pedants will also claim with what I'm sure is eye-popping insincerity and shameless* disingenuousness*, that their fight is only for clarity. This is all very well but there is no doubt what for example « five items or less » means just as only a dolt* can't tell from the context and from the age and education of the speaker whether distinterested is used in the proper sense of non-partisan or in the « improper » sense of uninterested. No, no, the claim* to be defending language for the sake of clarity almost never, ever holds* water. Nor does the idea that following grammatical rules in language demonstrates clarity of thought and intelligence of mind*. Having said this, I admit that if you want to communicate well for the sake of passing an exam or job interview, then it's obvious* that wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup. I think what offends examiners and employers when confronted with extremely informal, unpunctuated and haywire* language is the implication of not caring* that underlies* it. You slip* into a suit for an interview and you dress your language up* too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially* when you're at home or with friends but most people accept the need to smarten up* under some circumstances, it's only considerate*. But that's an issue of fitness*, of suitability*, it has nothing to do with correctness. There's no right language or wrong language anymore than there are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention and circumstance are all. I can't deny that a small part of me still claims to a ghastly radio for newspaper letter writer pedantry but I fight against it in much the same way I try to fight against my gluttony, anger, selfishness and other vices. I must confess for example that I find it hard not to wince* when someone aspirates a word and it is a word « aitch ». (...)
*Helpful vocabulary :
an upset = (emotional) bouleversement
sensual (adj) = sensuel
sensuous (adj) = (music, arts) qui affecte les sens / (lips, person) sensuel
delight (noun) = joie, grand plaisir
ghastly (adj) (informal) = affreux, épouvantable, atroce
distrust (noun) = la méfiance
distrust (verb) = se méfier de
bother (v) = prendre la peine de...
a broadcaster (n) = une personnalité de la radio ou de la télévision
rude (adj) = impoli, grossier
haughty (adj) = hautain, arrogant
show off (v) = faire étalage de
knowledge = connaissance, savoir
be aware = être consicent de, être informé, au courant
uninterested = indifférent
disinterested = désintéressé
infer (v) = inférer, déduire, conclure
imply (v) = insinuer, laisser entendre, supposer
outgrow (v) = ne plus s'intéresser à, abandonner (en grandissant, en prenant de l'âge)
scribble (v) = gribouiller, grifonner
a slip (n) = un bout de papier
tidy up (v) = ranger, mettre de l'ordre dans
guilty (adj) = coupable
a novel (n) = un roman
whip out (v) = sortir vivement
Sharpie(s) = marque de feutres
take away (v) = retirer, enlever
add (v) = ajouter
shake (v) = secouer
mutter (v) = marmonner, grommeler
split infinitive = erreur de grammaire consistant à introduire un adverbe au milieu d'un infinitif, entre "to" et le verbe. (wordreference dictionary)
a misspelling (n) = faute d'orthographe
bubble (with joy) (v) = déborder de, être tout excité par...
froth (v) = mousser, écumer
slobber (v) = baver, s'extasier
feel giddy = avoir le vertige
bliss (n) = bonheur absolu, félicité
yoke (v) = lier, joindre
tickle (v) = (literal) chatouiller / (figurative) amuser, faire rire
sneer (v) = ricaner, sourire avec mépris
Sod them ! = Qu'ils aillent se faire foutre !
Sod them to Hades = qu'ils aillent se faire voir chez les Grecs...
Hades = Hadès, frère de Zeus et de Poséidon dans la mythologie grecque. Souvent considéré comme « maître des enfers ».
dense (informal) (adj) = bouché, obtus
deaf (adj) = sourd
For heaven's sake = pour l'amour du ciel
strike (v) = frapper
whinge (informal and pejorative) (v) = geindre, pleurnicher
disingenuousness (n) = manque de sincérité
shameless (adj) = effronté, sans vergogne
a dolt (n) = un lourdaud, une gourde = a stupid person
a claim (n) = affirmation
hold water (familiar) = tenir la route
mind (n) = l'esprit
it's obvious that...= il est évident que...
haywire (adj) = détraqué
care (v) = prendre soin de quelque chose
underlie (v) = sous-tendre
slip = glisser
dress...up (v) = habiller, orner
sartorial (adj) = vestimentaire
smarten up (v) = se faire beau
considerate (adj) = prévenant, plein d'égards, aimable
fitness, suitability (n) = caractère approprié
wince (adj) = grimacer
claim for something (v) = demander quelque chose