Arika Okrent QuotesArika Okrent is an American linguist, known particularly for her 2009 book In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language, a result of her five years of research into the topic of constructed languages. She is also featured in Sam Green's 2011 documentary The Universal Language.
Before you judge me as some kind of ‘anything goes’ language heathen, let me just say that I’m not against usage standards. I don’t violate them when I want to sound like an educated person, for the same reason I don’t wear a bikini to a funeral when I want to look like a respectful person. There are social conventions for the way we do lots of things, and it is to everyone’s benefit to be familiar with them. But logic ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.
The job of the linguist, like that of the biologist or the botanist, is not to tell us how nature should behave, or what its creations should look like, but to describe those creations in all their messy glory and try to figure out what they can teach us about life, the world, and, especially in the case of linguistics, the workings of the human mind.