Connecting the dots…

Having license doesn’t mean you should do it!

There’s a song called Unconditionally by Katy Perry. The accents of the syllables are incorrectly placed – Katy sings “uncondiSHUNally”. You may argue that it doesn’t make much difference and that musicians have artistic licence. I would argue that, generally, a singer is trying to get a message across with their lyrics and that they should try to be as clear as possible. The first time I heard this song, I couldn’t understand what she was singing. It was only after a few times of hearing it on the radio that I realised the word was ‘unconditional’.

It’s not only a problem that it’s difficult to make out what word she is singing, it’s also that with music blasted globally, many non-English speaking people will hear this and think it’s the correct way to pronounce the word. It becomes even more concerning when you realise how many times the song is played daily and for how long it has stayed on the charts. This severely compounds the problem.

You may argue that language is fluid and that it changes based on usage, which is a natural and good thing. I agree, and enjoy following the way English morphs, especially when used by non-native speaking English people. However, I would argue that the changes brought about are usually to help improve understanding between people, not to add to the confusion. Language developed to help us communicate better to improve group cohesion, therefore evolutionary success.

Although you may think it’s cute or novel phrasing a word differently, think about the impact you’re having on the development of the species. Be a responsible communicator.






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