Final Word from Thursday, March 25, 2004

Communist MP Ivana Levá's idea of requiring radio and TV announcers to use standard Czech met with scorn from the media but passed in Parliament. Efforts to dictate language usage usually fail. Languages are living organisms that develop on their own. Languages are also a means toward mutual understanding, though, and commonly accepted rules can serve to eliminate ambiguity. In many cultures, those who express themselves clearly and follow accepted rules are afforded better career opportunities. Czech schoolchildren in many cases aren't learning to speak "properly," because their teachers (other than their Czech-language instructors) aren't using standard Czech either. Not everyone finds this important, but for those who do, the task of making sure today's youth are able to use the literary language will fall increasingly on the parents, not lawmakers. spoken


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