“Rightly is they called pigs,” said Rowley, a farm laborer looking at the wallowing animals before passing on to the cow sheds, in Aldous Huxley’s novel Chrome Yellow. Those who heard his words commented on his wisdom.
This raises all sorts of questions about language and how we perceive the world, questions that range from the philosophical to the politically correct (PC) use of language and the question of causing offence – for example, calling someone a pig.
Those who believed in being PC tried to adjust language to take into account people’s sensitivities in the areas of race, sexuality and disability, and a theologian has recently written that we should do the same for the animal kingdom. To call them “wild” or “beasts” is, he says, “derogatory and offensive”. I’m all in favor of animal welfare, but, in arguing his case, he says that language is the means by which we understand and conceptualize the world around us.
But is it? Isn’t it the other way round? To put it another, very simple, way: do you believe that the language you use has made you think of the world in a certain way, or that you have an idea of the world as it is and your place in it, and you use language to understand and describe it?
Is Rowley’s wisdom based on his many years working with farm animals, and what he has seen is just pigs being pigs and there’s nothing more to be said? Or has he decided that the name “pig” suits these creatures because they behave piggishly? If we cleaned them up, taught them table manners and made them wear a tie, would we have to call them something else?
What is the main reason for the writer mentioning Rowley?
a) Because he is a farm laborer.
b) To illustrate his view about the use of language.
c) To support the idea that we should be politically correct when talking about animals.
d) To bring some humor into his text.
a) is incorrect because although Rowley is a farm laborer, that’s not the main reason he is mentioned. c) is incorrect because Rowley does not support that view. d) is incorrect because although Rowley speaks in a slightly humorous way, that ‘s not the main reason he is mentioned . b) is correct because the writer says: “Rightly is they called pigs,” said Rowley. a farm laborer looking at the wallowing animals before passing on to the cow sheds … This raises all sorts of questions about language and how we perceive the world …