Tuesday 5 February 2019

Tweeting beautifully without apologising for it

The simplicity of the tweet
On a tweet that composed a seminal thought and political discourse within the conservative landscape of the 280-character limit of a simple tweet, some responses sneered, “Too much grammar.”
I have been on Twitter since the 8th of February 2009, which means in three days I would hit a decade of tweeting. One thing tweeting taught me was brevity, concision, and precision. At first glance, these words are literally synonyms depending on context, but when the definitions are reviewed, you get a sense that they have different qualities.
Brevity - concise and exact use of words in writing or speech. This would suggest knowing the platform is limited, I would find the best words to present my tweet, which sometimes would include a foray into sesquipedalianism. If I have a word that fits the bill, I use it.
Concision - is the cutting out of unnecessary words while conveying an idea. For anything I have to say in a tweet, I want the complete context to be conveyed, I never used tweet elongators when Twitter had a 140-character limit. It could have made the tweet difficult to read, but when understood, you needed no other tweet to explain the tweet.
Precision - the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate. Once the tweet was composed, there was no ambiguity, it conveyed exactly what I wanted to say, with its difficult and long words, the context of exactly what I had in mind and no doubt about what I intended.
Without the rules, we would be fools
For that, some people appreciated the work that went into the tweet, maybe it even gave some the opportunity to extend their vocabulary. I was never one to economise on what broad range of words the English language offered to anyone who was interested, whilst resisting a decline into neologisms.
Then, some would sneer, “Too much grammar.”, as if grammar had become a synonym for obscurity, verbosity, complexity, difficulty, or pomposity.
Grammar, according to the Cambridge dictionary is (the study or use of) the rules about how words change their form and combine with other words to make sentences. Invariably, without the rules of grammar, you cannot make sentences, you just have a jumble of words that make no sense, except if it is a word puzzle.
Covering for inadequacies
I have come to the conclusion that the sneering is more a lack of comprehension of what has been written, the people, rather than tax themselves with broadening their knowledge or maybe attempting a better delivery of the tweet, as the way people convey their ideas can be a matter of style, they revile and castigate the writer with a heckle, with disdain, with contempt or some other device to belittle the person and by that give themselves a sense of superiority over the expressed ability of the writer.
I do have a writing style, some have suggested it could be flowery, my blogs flourish with that style, you can read anything I have written in the last 15 years of blogging and conclude, that is unmistakably Akin expressing himself.
It goes without saying that much as we nominally recognise Nigeria as an English-speaking country, English comprehension amongst many lags their ability to read, as such, Nigerians would find that they have to take ‘English as a foreign language’ examinations on applying to universities in the UK. You would expect them to pass those examinations, but over-confidence can easily catch you out.
They do not matter
In a series of tweets, I averred, “Basically, if you have difficulty reading or comprehending a sentence of English language and think you can cover your inadequacies with condemning the sentence as excessive grammar, the truth is your proficiency at English is rudimentary if not illiterate.” I will make no apology for that viewpoint or for the fact that my privileged education should pander to the lowest common denominator of communication.
If you cannot contribute to a discourse or broaden the ideas offered in a public space like Twitter, it is better to keep your counsel than display your ignorance. I believe everyone has a story and a mode of expression, Twitter can be a marketplace of opinions and great ideas, and anywhere I find that people are expressing themselves in an interesting or inspiring way, I like to acknowledge them rather than sneer at them.
What I do not understand, I seek clarification or explanation of, and that is why I decided to tweet about grammar and comprehension, because nothing was wrong with what was said, and everything was wrong with those who had nothing to add to the viewpoint than participate in the braying mob of anti-intellectuals shouting out – “Too much grammar.”
We should never be afraid to express ourselves in the richness of all that we have acquired, experienced or been influenced by, most pertinently, never let the sneers limit your communication.

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