The English Language is Not a Sacred Cow

Yeah, I said it. I’ll stand behind it too. All the people out there who compare the witnessing of misused punctuation, grammar, diction, homophones (that’s my biggest failure), and all the other so-called abuses of the English language to having a nose hair ripped out, you have my sympathies, but not necessarily my support. Before you hunt me down with pitch forks and red sharpie markers, allow me to defend my statement.

First off, historically speaking, the English language that we use now resembles little of the English language that was spoken and or written even one hundred years ago. Don’t believe me, get a hold of any piece of published material from the turn of the twentieth century and observe the formality of the language. Go back another 100 years, around the time Jane Austin was writing, and you would swear she had no education, when comparing her sentence structures to what we consider acceptable today. Shakespeare? I don’t think I even need to elaborate on that.

Second off, the English language is a bastardized language to begin with. Much like the little group of islands from which it originates, the language evolved from the series of invasions by Germanic (and in my opinion, Scandinavian) tribes that assimilated themselves with the inhabitants. To quote Wikipedia: “English frequently makes use of loanwords originating from other languages.”

My point is, language, like all forms of communication, is an evolving entity that will adapt to the ever changing needs of its culture. Rules are made to be broken when they no longer serve their purpose. And claiming that the only voices that matter are the ones that use your rules for correct English is not only elitist, it’s a little backwards.


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