Critical Response: The Decline of Public Language

Critical Response: The Decline of Public Language by Margaret Wente

Wente’s discusses the importance of the public language. She goes against the views of many people and argues that public language has a deeper meaning that it can be seen from the face value point of view. Margaret Wente is a writer and one of the leading Canadian columnists. Her writing is mainly focused on social, education and health care issues (Globe and Mail, 2018). In the column “The Decline of Public Language” Wente states that the language of the market is influencing public language. From Wente’s perspective, public language is an essential tool and therefore, it should be characterized by specific values like love, emotion, hope and show the possibility for change.


Wente presents language as the usual conversation between individuals in public. She mentions a hockey player in the studio who is referring to the game as a product. Secondly, she sees citizens as clients even in the political sphere. Wente also talks of management speak where everyone appears to like to be in a homeless shelter since charitable organizations, museums universities and hospitals do not have a strategic plan, vision or vision. According to Wente, people in the civil service depend on the management speak since they have to assure their shareholders they are operating on a business-like a model. At this point, the author strives to show how ambitions, plans, and visions are influenced and progressed by leading Canada’s outstanding personalities in communication, business, politics, and science.
Wente judges that public language is a conversation between people “It is a language for formal conversation between people in public” (p. 31). As a conversation, the language should encompass aspects like love, emotion, hope, and change. In using love and emotion in the public language, Wente seems to show that a good public language should possess the attributes of care, which means that speakers should be seen expressing love to the audience. As such, the language cannot be used for the sake of just passing information to the audience. On the same light, the author has also embraced the concept of hope and change. In this context, the author might be seen referring to the politicians whose language is full of fake promises. As such, the language cannot be said to possess the real expectations of the public. In cementing her support for the aspects of love, emotion, love, and change in the public, Wente said, “Words matter more than we think. We need them to express our deepest values (p.31).


Wente shows how the relentless commitment of people is one of their greatest strengths, but when they lack the needed dedication, they will always live under the control of the outgoing and elite in society.  As much as Wente appears to discredit the contribution of the enlightened in the society, it is important to note that they form the leadership of the nation and as a result, they are entitled to speak on behalf of the citizens. Despite, the rebuttal on her stance; this paper agrees on her argument that the upper class uses cliché orchestrated vocabulary in the managerial context to rob people a good public language that is characterized by gravity and elegance. As a result, there has been a loss of love, emotion, hope, and change. In concluding her stance on public language, Wente notes that words have essential meaning that the wider majority assumes them. She goes ahead by arguing that people need words to express their deepest values, and as such the choice of public language in any particular context is fundamental.It is apparent that Wente is a great writer. He succinctly brings out the main concepts that should be embraced in the public language. However, she has failed by discrediting the political and business classes for speaking on behalf of the people they lead.

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