An excerpt from Stephen Fry’s post Don’t Mind Your Language where he speaks about enjoying language:
I once asked a linguist if she enjoys language. She said she does. I then didn’t get how one derives pleasure from language. I still don’t. Much like others don’t get why I would put myself through extreme physical stress to summit a peak. To me language is a tool, like a car. To someone else language and cars can be things that embody beauty.
When I take up an activity or a hobby, my aim is be so good at it that I find beauty in it. Being good at something and seeing the beauty in something are mutually exclusive — but when combined is a wonderful experience. I have tried to reach that level (and mostly succeeded) with every activity I’ve taken up in the past. I am now working on paragliding.
Language isn’t on my list yet. Perhaps someday.
I still derive pleasure from reading: a beautiful sentence is no different than a beautiful tune. Both take my breath away. I’ve noticed that I find prose beautiful when it doesn’t try to be beautiful — when it doesn’t make me aware of how flowery it is. An analogy would be a girl who looks pretty without ornaments or cosmetics.
And speaking of Zeb ..
I hear you! I’ll tone it down.