The actress Emma Thompson has attacked the use of sloppy language in an interview with the Radio Times.

From the BBC:

She said: “We have to reinvest, I think, in the idea of articulacy as a form of personal human freedom and power.”

Ms Thompson added that on a visit to her old school she told pupils not to use slang words such as “likes” and “innit”.

“I told them, ‘Just don’t do it. Because it makes you sound stupid and you’re not stupid.”‘

Whilst this may sound harsh, Ms Thompson went on to say:

“There is the necessity to have two languages – one that you use with your mates and the other that you need in any official capacity.”

This is something I think we can all agree on. The ability to recognise the correct vocabulary to use in different situations is learnt through experience. And it’s noticeable when learning a new language also – in Spanish for example there are different greetings depending on the time of day (buenos dias, buenas tardes, buenas noches) and the person you are talking to.

These “two languages” are part of the reason why it’s difficult to become fully fluent in a language – you can learn the “official” language and yet until you hear and see how it is used by people in different contexts, you can’t really get the true feeling of a language.

What do you think of Emma Thompson’s views on sloppy language?