Jessie Jane loves words
Once upon a time, I was a small child telling a story to my mum. Suddenly she interrupts — “Hang on, what was that?” she asks.
“Debris,” I repeat. “You know, like flotsam and jetsam.”
And that’s when I learned you don’t pronounce the ‘s’ in ‘debris’. The first of many awkward moments to come, learning how to speak words I knew only from reading…
I always loved reading — I was the kind of kid who owned bookshelves. Maybe I couldn’t pronounce all the words I learned from my books, but I was a wicked speller! In grade 7, my school teacher gave me permission to get up anytime I wanted, to correct her spelling on the blackboard.
This word-loving passion led me to terrorise local papers and businesses, as I sent letters and made calls to inform them of their crimes against spelling and grammar, not to mention accuracy.
Landing my first job as an editor at age 17 was a thrill! Finally I could use my powers for good — not just for annoying people!
For the next 15+ years, I’ve continued to joyfully explore language and communication. My journey has led me out of the jungle of prescriptivism, and onto the blue sea of descriptivism…
Now, I combine my skills, passion and experience to help writers get the best from themselves. I also do a bit of writing and content creation for interesting projects.
Linguistic prescription lays down the law! It defines and prescribes how language ‘should’ be. This approach attempts to freeze language in a specific moment, fosters unwarranted division and elitism, and generally makes you a bit of a pain to be around. Imagine hacking your way through a jungle of spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics… the jungle reclaims your path as soon as you’re gone.
Descriptive linguistics doesn’t try to fight an unwinnable battle. It doesn’t attempt to enforce structure on a fluid concept; rather, it objectively analyses and describes language as it is actually used. To a descriptivist, there are no rules to break — only beautiful new language forms to discover! Imagine sailing across a wide open sea, knowing that you can never tame it… but being overjoyed with the pleasure of being able to observe it.
Institute of Professional Editors (Australia)
Genius Coaching (USA)
Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics major)
University of New England (Australia)