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Sunday, September 13, 2020

How (not) to tame English?

To answer and disappoint my reader, I have no idea. I've been writing for the web for several years, and the only conclusion I am reasonably sure of is that I cannot describe any workable method to do it. However, since I've tested many approaches so far, someone may find my journal educational.
How not to tame English by Pavel Morava


 At first, allow me to explain why I bother with English, which is not my mother language, and Grammarly keeps nagging about every tenth word I use. Well, you know - everyone is littering the Internet, and I tend to do what the others do. 

Anyway, the first method I would like to recommend to your attention exploits the "I don't care!" attitude. Its magic dwells in commenting while disregarding any grammar and spelling. The primary purpose is to deliver the message, not to care about insult to the language or potential recipients.

It is a straightforward and easy-going approach. I used it often with great success. Some native speakers might even appreciate it since observing the dumb foreigners cultivates their superiority complex. Without a doubt, native speakers beat the rest of the world in this game.

But not only that!  By solving the riddles presented in texts, enriched by cryptic fragments, the intellectual satisfaction competes with ancient hieroglyphs' decryption. I have spent plentiful happy minutes myself over writings of the poor souls, who struggled with English more desperately than I do.

As a creative fellow, I have extended the before-mentioned methodology by something I would call the "Intuitive Grammar." There is a particular moment in your meaningless life when you come to the false conclusion that you have become an advanced speaker.

Even though you have forgotten all the rules and exceptions they pushed into you at school, you feel empowered with your recent skills. So you begin using tenses, particles, and idioms you have seen somewhere under the false pretext you understand them correctly.

This hilarious self-mystification leads to extraordinary enhancement of your written delivery, so you do not hesitate to ornament your sentences with refined gems, which bear the opposite meanings than you initially thought.

Furthermore, if you tend to take advice from the invention called Thesaurus, it can happen to you as it happened to me that after stumbling upon the two-month-old article, you have no idea what the article was about.

If even such an embarrassment fails to stop your progressing megalomania, the day may come when you decide to write an English novel. In that case, a tiny worm of doubts may appear and force you to reevaluate your ability to do so. Having absolute and excessive confidence in your learning skills, you accept the quest to conquer English grammar and vocabulary, meticulously polishing every sentence and every word you put down on the paper.

The journey can quickly become an annoying hassle as soon as you realize that English lacks any widely accepted standard and formal rules. More than anything resembles a poorly evolved construct, a muddy piece of sheer shapelessness.

Only the brave or stupid endure after such a finding, and it depends solely on the adventurer's unyielding character, whether or not he continues on the journey. After all, if Britons and Americans could not have standardized their language in the way the less worldly countries had done about one century ago, what prevents you from maiming their language in a fashion you deem appropriate, suffice it to declare own ignorance a personal style of writing?

This phase, I would call "Spiritual Enlightenment." Since endless queue of English lectors, preaching on YouTube, demand you to stop translating in your head, you proudly declare English your second language and expose your already damaged brain to new suffering.

By switching to "I must not translate" self, you earned the phenomenal opportunity to express the complex ideas in the manner which corresponds to the abilities of ten years old child handicapped by incurable mental issues.

Overnight, the previous fluency transforms into hopeless stuttering, and you enviously watch the others able to bring thousands of words a day where you hardly birth hundreds in a week.

Personally, I surprised myself by the tenacity with which I crafted more than one hundred pages of Sovereign. There was a period I was writing about five hundred words a day. It did not last for long as you may easily deduce from my submissions on RoyalRoad.

The final proof of my inferior intellect? It took me years to understand that this road leads nowhere. My "Big comeback to the Earth" formed this article, written in my mother language in a half of hour, the only obstacle being my pondering how the hell I was going to translate my Czech idioms into understandable English. I was afraid that by not translating it, I would harm my international audience, which counts if I am not mistaken about twenty random passersby.