Shared Thoughts .. Our words betray us

I was planning to take a quick swim at the pool on the ground floor area of my building, my usual morning routine, when an email sent to our Observer account caught my attention.
It was a two paragraph email, curt and precise about the message it wants to send across.
It read, “Sir, I was aghast to read that the last page on the Sports supplement had the headline: “No play here!”
As an educator i (sic) find it difficult to comprehend why the use of English grammar in your paper was poorly used on this occasion? (sic)”
I know exactly the story it was pertaining to. It was a story that we’d been working on for days and it was something we were very passionate about that we went all the way to Wadi Kabir to meet the guy who made the first skate park in the country possible.
The complete title as it appeared in the Features section was: “’No play here!’ no more for Oman skaters.” I can see where the confusion was coming from.
I looked at the email several times testing out different ways on how to respond to it. Personally, I really appreciate feedbacks like it primarily because it keeps authors and journalists in check and it was heartwarming to know that somebody out there is paying attention to the kind of things that goes to print. As a writer, there is no better feeling than knowing that you were read and that somebody actually took the time to communicate with you to tell you how they feel about the job that you are doing.
Even if the letter has the tone of disappointment, I responded to it as detailed as I can. And by the said email, I was brought back to the time when I was studying effective communication during my university days.
The truth is, the letter sender was correct. “No play here!” is a glaring error.
But then in creative writing or writing in general, I explained the concept of Characterization. Suffice to say, I pointed out that ‘No play here!’ enclosed in a semi-quote was a means of telling the background of the people who say these things — probably, are not fluent English speakers and may not have completed their graduate studies.
My five-paragraph response led me to realise that we are how we say things and act.
I automatically zoomed in to one of the latest films I’ve watched —Black Panther, —and dwelt on the thought for a moment that had the characters been speaking in a posh Upper-Class British accent, they would not have break grounds the way that the film did. For all the accents used and for the way the actors delivered their lines, they became relatable because they were as authentic as they can get.
The way we speak betrays a lot about us. It tells us about someone’s background not only in education but also the country one is from, probably a lot more. Our speech pattern all makes us different. Our delivery makes us even more unique.
For all his intents and purposes, I understand where the letter sender was coming from. Oman is a growing country with a lot of people who don’t speak English as their primary language. Some of them are still learning. Some of them trying to fully grasp the concept of grammar that reading things in the newspaper that sows confusion is just truly unacceptable.
As one of the editors guarding the gateway of information, I try every day to do an excellent job. But other than proper grammar, I also think there are other things people should learn.
The more people read and are exposed to different forms of writing, the more they would understand. It is important to teach but the greatest disservice to me is teaching half the knowledge people are supposed to learn. With knowledge, there is power. And poet Alexander Pope has also warned that “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.”