Watching my 13-year-old sit on the couch and text-message his pals, I intuitively know that our language—our use of words for communicating with one another—is at risk. Speed has become paramount. Using words accurately or thoughtfully seems about to become extinct. The computer, the Internet and text messages are increasing communication, but they are potentially destroying language.
Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre’s book on the stewardship of language, is a wonderfully composed treatise. She says at the outset that she means to reflect on “what it might mean to retrieve words from . . . misuse, abuse and distortion . . . and to reinvigorate them for use as bearers of truth and as instruments of love.” A worthy goal if ever there was one. An essayist and poet and a professor of English at Westmont College, McEntyre puts her skills and wisdom to good use.