Single-minded unity is what separates us from deviants

I would like to strongly agree with Paul Harris Jr. in his opinion, “Support a tougher stance on crime” (Nov. 28, 2007).

In it, he describes the pressing, yet very surmountable (by us) problem we now face of deviants. He ends by saying, “And I do not want to hear one word about what the deviants went through or what they need, until our needs are met.” It is this, in particular, which I would like to defend.

You hear some people saying “Perhaps there was at some point a time when this deviant was not, in fact, a deviant.” But this is ridiculous! As it is said, “Are we not we? Are they not they?” Do small children rape and kill and jaywalk? No, they do not, and so deviants (who do all these things and more) could never have been them or anything other than a deviant.

Thoughts such as those of “high-priced hippies and charlatans” must be immediately refuted for the potential uncertainty they might cause. We, being “sustained by nutrients of a pure and rich substance,” must further separate ourselves from deviants by maintaining total certainty in our single-minded unity which is so exemplar for being super-unified. After all, we are so good and big and have such precious bodily fluids the purity of ultra-relevance of which we cannot let them in any way diminish.

Scott Steele

Language standardization has its complications

I would like to commend Lauren Gurry for her article on my recent lecture at the Politics Forum (“It’s All in the Family: Language, Nation and Market in 21st Century Spain”).

She did an excellent work summarizing a rather lengthy and complicated presentation, and I liked the title of her article much better than mine!

This said, however, I would like to clarify a couple of points that could mislead (and have already misled) readers about my own point of view on the subject.

I did speak on the efforts made by cultural and official institutions from Spain to make the Spanish language uniform, both in Spain and in Latin America.” I did not say, however, that it is important or necessary to do this.

In fact, I think and I said such efforts have a political and economical dimension directly tied to what many would call Spain’s neocolonialist operations in Latin America.

I am a linguist interested in unveiling the sociopolitical motives and consequences of standardization and other examples of language planning.

As such, I do not think “what we have to do is … persuade people it (standardization) is in their best interest.” That’s rather?what official institutions that have a vested interest in language planning want to do.

Personally, and as my own students already know, I have a quite different opinion: even if many people think speakers should follow what grammar says, in the end it is grammar that follows what speakers say.

All of this aside, I would like to thank Lauren Gurry again for her fine article!

Luis Gabriel-Stheeman