Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Voters List Makes Me (Sic)

On my way into work I pass many advertising hoardings. Southwark Council, my borough, have now begun a new campaign to persuade people to register to vote. They're calling for people to join the "Voters List". This irks me on two counts. One, I'm pretty sure it should be "Voters' List" and two, the damn thing is called The Electoral Register, or Electoral Roll and has ever been thus. The reason why this annoys me is because it panders to the whims of those who would rather not learn anything nor be confronted by something which at first they may not understand. It's not "dumbing down" in the usual sense of making a subject that has some complexity much easier so no-one can possibly fail to grasp it immediately, thereby benefiting nobody at all, but it does encourage lazy people to remain lazy.

When I read and come across a word I don't understand, I go and look it up. It's not embarrassing or shameful to admit this; there are many words I do not know. Since there are purportedly over six hundred thousand words in English it's doubtful any individual knows them all so everyone, even the most erudite scholar, will at some point have to reach for his or her copy of Chambers. And yet we seem hell-bent on discouraging anyone from ever having to deal with something that they don't already know and futhermore it betrays much of the aesthetic beauty of the language by fettering it into some child-speak with little subtlety of cadence, sound or rhythm. "Electoral Register" rolls off the tongue, it has weight and elegance. "Voters List" (sic) does not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually not sure yet, but almost... all this must have something to do with the hidden bubbles, dont you think so?

2:41 pm  

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