Precise language seems to be a rare commodity in the era of instant communication. Where once we would spend hours writing letters to each other, labouring over each word, we now use words cheaply, bandying around insults that would once have constituted defamation, or seen us nursing a bloody nose. I have always loved language and enjoyed the endless possibility of language acquisition. When I first learned the word ‘schadenfreude’, I could fully understand the glee I felt as those in power squirmed uncomfortably under scrutiny (little did I know that I would one day be doing the squirming).
Aristotle once wrote “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” This may seem contradictory but there is a truth here. Every new word a young person uses opens up a concept or idea and the more words they learn, the bigger the world gets and the less they realise they know. This is where learning lies and teaching young people to uses language precisely and widely, may not only see the world become a bigger place, it may also become a better place as well.