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Vulgarism in radio, TV ads

Published:Thursday | April 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Despite the risk of being branded a creature from another era, I am impelled to express concern at the increasing use of vulgarism in radio and television advertising. This is accompanied by a mindless assault upon the official language of this country; and it's about time that business houses and their advertising agencies begin to consider the negative effects of what they are doing to our society.

It isn't pomp or pretension that makes me protest against the promotion of the vernacular. Rather, it is that this widespread dissemination of broken English and crude expressions tends to counteract what the nation is paying schoolteachers to do. We are all aware that the use of dialect and coarse language has its place. It is only the unthinking who believe that these should be among the tools of broadcasting; and that more of their products and services will be sold if potential buyers are subject to loud gibberish, clownish pronunciation and 'raw chaw' verbalism.

No effort or creativity

Advertising agency executives and their clients do not conduct themselves in this fashion. Their salesmen and women do not approach customers with brusque behaviour; yet, perhaps unwittingly, they make use of jargon and jingles to foist on us crude advertising that requires no effort or creativity. It is a lazy way of communicating. Any person off the street can mouth a message of that sort, but to engage attention and be persuasive in a normal tone is a more challenging task, particularly for the untrained.

The pity is that all this is happening to us while progressive nations of the world are paying highly to learn and use the English language. They know that language, spoken or written, is essential to effective communication; and that English, like it or not, is a distinct advantage throughout the world.

I am, etc.,