Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Time and Language


I noticed something strange happening in the Dutch news broadcasts on television lately.

It seems that the use of the past tense in the Dutch language is now completely abandoned.
Even the future tense is jeopardized! (Yes indeed, just a few hours ago, Dominique Strauss Kahn was already convicted by the Dutch news!)
This is interesting from a couple of perspectives.
First we have the general deterioration of Dutch language. With more foreigners than people with a native Dutch tongue, this is already an inevitable development, however sad ...
Recently I was reading in a book that was written in the early 1900s.
The first sentence almost completely covered the first page of the book and at the end of the sentence I had a full color hi-fi stereo impression of the scene, complete with all the smells and other sensory perceptions. Then the next thing that struck me was the immense difference with the language we have today and how a 16 year old probably would hardly be able to read such a page.
The news uses the present tense in situations that really describe the past for the same reason as authors used to do that in a specific style passage, where they wanted to make a more vivid impression. Apparently the people who write the news think that the horrible stuff they are dishing up is not getting through any more as the public becomes "immune" to more suffering ...?
And from a third angle, one could see it as highly spiritual.
As the use of time disappears from the language ... is it real anyway?

1 comment:

*Honest Abe said...

Most interesting post.

Politics is good at claiming tomorrow is going to be worse than the Great Depression . . .