The Evolution of the English Language.
In this day and age of modernised language and linguistic evolution, the meaning of words has either been diminished, or altered. There are only so many words in the dictionary, and for whatever reason, society has deemed it acceptable to create additional vocabulary so to easily express what one is trying to convey.
However, before the “invention of colloquialisms,” man seemed to have little trouble with self-expression in the first place. Perhaps it’s the development of technology, the creation of agriculture and the progression of human industry that have rendered it necessary to construct a language separate from the formal – soon to be “former” – English language. Technological language masquerades as the sole evolution of language, but in reality, there are other aspects which have been evolving long before the rise of technology.
Legal language: when society began to establish a legal system, outside of religion (see the Age of Enlightenment), language had to be amended so to incorporate “commoners” who did not have the luxury of elite education. For if legal language was not simplified, it would defeat the purpose of justice: those without sufficient knowledge of formal “Legal Language” would suffer due to a lack of education. In other words, they would be punished for ignorance over the actual crime.
Corporate language: a language used with simple and direct definitions, but with varied contexts, and consequentially, almost a language of its own. Most of the vocabulary in the corporate world can be clearly defined, yet it is the content of what these “words” entail that eludes the average man.
Technological language: a fundamental example of technological language can be reduced to the creation of computers. This, in itself, created a whole new dictionary of words, such as “bytes, megabytes, gigabytes” and so forth. As technology advanced, this brought forth a simplified version of such terms. SMSs required shortened versions of words, due to a limit of characters; Instant Messengers and chat rooms became the cutting-edge version of socialising, and to save a few seconds, “chatters” deemed it “necessary” to shorten their diction and even generate new terminology, such as “LOL,” “OMG,” “Aite” and so forth.
Musical language: originally derived from French, German, Latin, and in rare cases, Spanish. This language too, evolved. In classical music, one often notices the presence of such nomenclature. However, with modern music, unless one has studied music profusely, it is rare to encounter the fundamental denotation of the language.
The English language on its own is ever-changing: considering the fact that it is the most widely taught (not necessarily spoken) language in the world, it is impossible to fully comprehend the actual meaning of words. Not only are new dictionaries being created (see Urban Dictionary), but cultures with different languages have also adopted the use of English words into its everyday language.
English is derived, predominantly, from Latin and Greek; Cantonese colloquialisms from English et cetera.
As human industry continues its transformative journey of change and progression, the English language will furthermore change with it.
This analysis is merely the tip of the iceberg: one can ponder the wonders of the language for a lifetime and still be in awe of its metamorphosis.
That said, here are words or phrases which many often confuse.
– You’re and your
– Effect and affect
– Figuratively and literally
– The use of the word “ironic”
– The use of the word “iconoclast”
– Would have / could have (it is NOT would of / could of)
– Using “Me and Bob” instead of “Bob and I” (see Everything Language and Grammar)
– Using the verb as an adjective, such as “It’s being done”
In sum, the English language is a perpetual process of alteration and transfiguration. In order to reduce the amount of confusion and misunderstanding between individuals, one must be on the same page of the same dictionary!
That is all.