I make no bones about it, I am a Luddite when it comes to the English language : or, am I?
I have been having a short emailed debate with a friend and we both agree that the English language is in the midst of changing times regarding everything about it: spelling; grammar; syntax; and even pronunciation.
Here is what I wrote to her in one email:
I said I am a lover of words. I do not like the new words funner and funnest. I dislike them intensely and those who know me best will say my use of the English language is truly English. I stick all the time with labour and centre and their ilks. And I will be using neither funner nor funnest.
I fear that some of our educators are at fault, for they themselves are insufficiently familiar with correct grammar and syntax and, furthermore, they fail in having a limited vocabulary. The TV programs to which children are addicted, particularly pre-schoolers, favour the American slang. One has to listen to any newscast to hear split infinitives, which, when I was growing up were anathema to our English teachers, or the use of ‘me’ when it should be ‘I’: “me and my friend saw the accident”.
Then, again, there is the constant use of ‘none’ as a plural, when it is singular: none of those apples is good. I drilled into my five children that none really means not one and you would not think of saying ‘not one of those apples are good”. (Oh, maybe some person would.) Neither nor is another example: ‘neither this bowl nor that is suitable for dessert’.
Perhaps the greatest influence in today’s society is texting. I get texts from people using awful abbreviations, u for you, the use of 2 and 4 for two and four, 2nite for tonight, and so on ad nauseum. When I text, I make absolutely sure that I write the text as I would write a letter to someone. I am appalled at my own children (with one notable exception, Jenny, in Atlanta) and my grandchildren using these shorthand symbols. Ugh!
I can go on with example after example of how the language, my English language, is changing. Of course, all languages change as new words have to be invented to describe new practices, customs or technologies, but the rate of change today in the basic language is very lamentable. [End of email]
I may be 82 next month, but I do not believe I am a Luddite and, until I get irate about this again, which could be sooner rather than later, when someone texts me with something like “ur 2 unreal”, this is the last on the subject.