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Thread: The dilution of the English language

  1. #1 The dilution of the English language 
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    Since we lack a linguistics thread, and since adding one would seem nonsensical just for the infrequent posts I'll make, I'll adapt them to various other threads.
    From now on my main study will deal with linguistics and such. One of the things I've discovered recently I thought I'd share with ye.

    As the title suggests, our language has increasingly diluted over the years. Various definitions and words have either merged, or been forgotten entirely. Even more nonsensical is when we create new ones to make up for the absence of older ones. The latter of which concerns me most today.

    Let us compare, if you will, the differences between Middle English and Modern English with Personal Pronouns. Specifically the second person ones. Pay close attention and watch what happened during the transition. These are from wikipedia, just search for the words "you" and "ye".

    Second you you yours you you yours
    Now compare to:

    Second thou thee thy ye you your
    Obviously a lot of that seems unnecessary, and indeed becomes confusing when actually used (especially pronounced). The more experienced of you might notice something on the wikipedia page. "you" and "ye" are now the same officially. The rest we can do without (arguably, though I fancy "thy"). An example of this:
    Thou wouldst merely prefer to speak like a pirate. Unfortunately for thee, thou willst find "ye" used less frequently in practice than thou'dst like.
    "ye" is the second person plural of "thou" or modern day singular "you". In English, it's customary to add an "s" or a similar suffix for plural forms, and in other languages it's common to use an entirely different word altogether. What we see here is a complete lack of both, and instead of a plural form that follows suite with our grammar, we get "You".

    Does this make sense? Not any whatsoever. To the point where a majority of English dialects have REINVENTED a plural for the word "you". Most of you are familiar with southern dialects incarnation (y'all). Other countries and places that speak English also have similar abominations (Yous guys, etc).

    So why, then, have we stopped using "ye" and then did a 359 to find its ugly cousins? Nobody knows why. I've done a fair amount of searching, and even those interested don't know. Yet this provides an example of our language diluting (Aka: "The words are dying." according to a comical colleague). Removal of original words, and their replacement by words that don't make sense, or the simple removal (which is sometimes worse).

    What can we do to combat this? DO NOT make up new words. Do not be satisfied with the ridiculous dialects you were born into. Venture out into the great unknown and pull back needed words like "ye" into common use. Unfortunately the latter part sometimes requires extensive studies into "old" words and grammar. Yet, from now on, I'm going to reintegrate old and useful words into my grammar. Both because they make sense, and because the "modern" versions are retarded.


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  3. #2 Re: The dilution of the English language 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    What can we do to combat this? DO NOT make up new words. Do not be satisfied with the ridiculous dialects you were born into. Venture out into the great unknown and pull back needed words like "ye" into common use. Unfortunately the latter part sometimes requires extensive studies into "old" words and grammar. Yet, from now on, I'm going to reintegrate old and useful words into my grammar. Both because they make sense, and because the "modern" versions are retarded.
    You could wear a top-hat and write on parchment too. And whatever else anachronists do. "Ye" is an archaism.

    Reintegrating old words: You may quickly find yourself being accused of lexical archaism and generally being treated as a pseudo-intellectual.

    There are some useful words which are, unfortunately, no longer used. But those which have an archaic feel need to be avoided. "Ye", for example.

    (PS. In place of "ye", I use "laser guns". Try it.)


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  4. #3 Re: The dilution of the English language 
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    I disagree completely. Just because it's "archaic" by modern standards doesn't mean it can't be used in modern day, nor does it mean they make less sense. You specifically did not state WHY they need to be avoided, while at the same time producing a number of colorful labels.

    And...do I detect a hint of sarcasm about this whole reply? Damned if I can tell.
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  5. #4  
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    A person that uses archaic language as common practice would be hard pressed to explain the validity of its use to the average Joe, regardless of the veracity it is being promoted by. Especially to non-English speakers. You might be subject to ridicule and branding as pretentious. I get your point, but….
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  6. #5 Re: The dilution of the English language 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    And...do I detect a hint of sarcasm about this whole reply? Damned if I can tell.
    No, I'm not being sarcastic. I love language. I read (on average) four novels a week. I read a lot of classical (to be accurate, Romantic Era) poetry, and I'd agree that there are many words which should be brought back into use.

    But "ye" feels, looks and sounds archaic and pretentious. If used sparingly and interspersed with modern English, then perhaps it may be overlooked.

    But as my senses have been raped by poems written by gothic teenagers, I could never use the word "ye" without shuddering. I present to you:

    THE RAVEN AND THE MOON

    Do ye see
    What this cross has done to me?
    The moon is full
    The raven rests
    In the cemetery
    I wear my vest
    It's full of blood
    Hear ye, hear ye.

    I think it's a fair approximation of teenage goth girl poetry.
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  7. #6  
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    Oh ye GODS the pain you've bestowed upon my eyes!

    I present the word "ye" not because of how it sounds, but because it makes sense. It shouldn't be that difficult to overcome your unfounded emotional response to find proper use for it.

    Amusingly, this also correlates to a problem discussed on wikipedia. People, due to the archaic nature of words like "ye", end up thinking of them as FORMAL rather than what they were, INFORMAL. This hilarious turn of interpretation is probably brought on by the fact we're taught to be formal around/with things/people old/archaic.

    And by the way, I found your description of an anachronist quite amusing. I'm also a fan of old-fashioned ink-pens that require vials of ink and such. Old paper also feels nice. :P

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    A person that uses archaic language as common practice would be hard pressed to explain the validity of its use to the average Joe, regardless of the veracity it is being promoted by. Especially to non-English speakers. You might be subject to ridicule and branding as pretentious. I get your point, but….
    Precisely the problem. But, nevertheless, I advise you/ye attempt this feat anyway.

    What's amusing here is the fact MOST other Germanic languages HAVE a plural distinction. The fact English does not proves confusing to most learning it. With the exception of Asian languages like Japanese.
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  8. #7  
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    Language is like everything else, evolution by natural selection

    Certain generations have certain lingos that seep into all aspects of life and other generations, and in the process washing away others, I honestly think its a shame, I love to hear someone like stephen fry or yes again, dawkins speak, i like their choices of words without the dumbing down "street" language that so many younger people tend to use

    Its also seen in phrases like "at the end of the day" being used at every oppertunity, its rife now, this wasn't the case 10years ago, if you actually take note of the saying, have it in mind when you watch a days TV and see how often it comes up in arguments and statements

    I honestly think, youve just got to accept it and ride with the ebb and flow, some words are fads where others stand the test of time and move down the generations
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    Language is like everything else, evolution by natural selection

    [...]

    I honestly think, youve just got to accept it and ride with the ebb and flow, some words are fads where others stand the test of time and move down the generations
    Which is probably the worst crime you could commit. Preservation of our language should come before its destruction. A comical example might be "LUPA" from Final Fantasy I. A language that became so diluted it was brought down to one word: Lupa.

    Evolution is blind. We all know it. We should at least take control of something we ourselves invented and stop the progress of stupidity. Do not allow people to use "street" language. Force them to learn to understand. That's how I rose from my horrible spelling at age ten to near-perfect spelling now.
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  10. #9  
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    Why is change necessarily bad? You say the language is diluting while others say it is evolving. What makes you correct?
    And where do we stop?
    Ye originally was just used as a subject for 2nd plural and then was used as an object, or for singular, as well. Exactly how we use "you" today.
    Should we go back to that? Or to the original purpose? Which is better and why?
    What's the friggin difference?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Why is change necessarily bad? You say the language is diluting while others say it is evolving. What makes you correct?
    And where do we stop?
    Ye originally was just used as a subject for 2nd plural and then was used as an object, or for singular, as well. Exactly how we use "you" today.
    Should we go back to that? Or to the original purpose? Which is better and why?
    What's the friggin difference?
    I thought I explained. Not only does it no longer make a clear distinction, but most of us inherently know it's wrong (hence the dialect inventions of the plural form). It doesn't even follow suite with the rest of our grammar or language! Evolution definitely doesn't imply progress.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy
    What's amusing here is the fact MOST other Germanic languages HAVE a plural distinction. The fact English does not proves confusing to most learning it.
    I also want to point out - not having a distinct plural form of "you" absolutely does NOT make English harder to learn. English is hard to learn because basically everything is irregular. Learning Spanish for example is soooo much easier because it's pretty systematic. You have a root, if you want to change its tense you follow some basic rules. With exceptions, of course. But in English exceptions are the norm.
    Hell in Latin Spanish they don't even USE the 2nd person plural, they just skip it entirely and use the 3rd person plural instead. And it certainly doesn't make learning it HARDER, quite the opposite.
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  13. #12  
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    Neutrino, I merely meant it as one of the possible reasons it's a bit harder to learn. Not a main reason. Some people have difficulty comprehending the difference. I know I've occasionally become confused at the diverse use of words in other languages.
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  14. #13  
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    Yah no biggie just pointing out from experience - when I started learning Spanish in Mexico and found out they didn't even use the 2nd plural I was thrilled. Learning a language is just memorization and practice, and that cuts down on the memorization part. Conjugating verbs is always the worst
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    I'll go with you on this one Jeremy, but it seems possible your campaign may find itself bounded within this forum. How would we make the wider world take notice? And for any others listening, this question is for ye too!

    EDIT: Ulp, I put in a you're for your. Shame.
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  16. #15  
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    I'm relying on others to relay the message. Hopefully they find this INTERESTING ENOUGH to do so. Word of mouth is the strongest medium.
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  17. #16  
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    I guess such a person would have to find a way to be both cool AND an avid user of "proper" language to effectively start the trend. Not easy :wink:
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  18. #17  
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    Or you can stop the world from becoming what idiocracy predicts and start thinking "cool" equates to "intelligent" rather than "fucking retarded"?
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    Language is like everything else, evolution by natural selection

    [...]

    I honestly think, youve just got to accept it and ride with the ebb and flow, some words are fads where others stand the test of time and move down the generations
    Which is probably the worst crime you could commit. Preservation of our language should come before its destruction. A comical example might be "LUPA" from Final Fantasy I. A language that became so diluted it was brought down to one word: Lupa.

    Evolution is blind. We all know it. We should at least take control of something we ourselves invented and stop the progress of stupidity. Do not allow people to use "street" language. Force them to learn to understand. That's how I rose from my horrible spelling at age ten to near-perfect spelling now.

    your preaching to the converted on this one, ok, my grammar and spelling is pretty(well very) bad, but i hate the use of street lingo to the Nth degree and how it creeps into other aspects(and generations)

    If you look at childrens TV and other media forms, its rife, meaning trhat generation accepts and uses therefore making it the norm and watering down the language that bit more
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  20. #19  
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    Each generation invents it's own style of music, so why not language, accept it guys, "run with the hares and hunt with the hounds!".
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  21. #20  
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    I don't know. I can understand your reasons for wanting to bring some things back, but unless they make my life significantly easier, I don't see the worth in putting the effort in it, nor will most people. I agree that extreme dialects of English simply make it hard for everybody to understand each other, but I don't think that mainstream English as it is today is in such dire need of small pruning. If you really want to make the language significantly more efficient/effective/easy to learn or what have you, you'll need to do more than just start saying "ye" again. *shrugs*
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Or you can stop the world from becoming what idiocracy predicts and start thinking "cool" equates to "intelligent" rather than "fucking retarded"?
    Hip2Bsquare :wink:
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  23. #22  
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    Do ye have words you'd like to add? My only suggestion was "ye" so far. There are also a few "lost" words I think are useful (most aren't). http://phrontistery.info/clw.html browse through here at your leisure.

    I for one refuse to let my vocabulary and intellect become limited by modern day. If you do not know the words, how can you think of the concepts?

    Also, paralith, I'm not simply leaving it at "ye". In case you didn't know, I'm going to go through a large amount of revision suggestions throughout the course of my studies. Ranging from grammar to forgotten vocabulary we still need today.
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  24. #23  
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    ye better listen up, Archaic's in the house!

    bring back the flosculation of old!
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  25. #24  
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    As I said (should have with emphasis), some words shouldn't be revived. For the simple reason that we have single words that already describe the same thing. Look for words that describe CONCEPTS which we no longer have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    As I said (should have with emphasis), some words shouldn't be revived. For the simple reason that we have single words that already describe the same thing. Look for words that describe CONCEPTS which we no longer have.
    I still don't get how "ye" applies :P What concept does that apply to that we can't presently describe?
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  27. #26  
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    Okay. Here I thought "ya'll" was an example of what "ye" provided perfectly. "ye" is a plural of "you", so it literally means "you all" or "all of you" or something inbetween. So would you rather type out something grammatically inaccurate/sloppy (you all), or use a word that by definition already covers it?

    An example of this:
    aeipathy - continued passion; an unyielding disease
    From that "lost words" website. This word describes "continued passion/an unyielding disease". Not only does it shorten the words required, but also adds to the diversity of subjects we can explain with a single word.

    This single word (which I'm certain we have a replacement for that I can't think of) describes a concept that would otherwise take more time to describe. It therefore benefits our language by adding a much richer vocabulary.

    What's interesting is that, in recent years, the amount of words that describe lengthy or unique concepts have slowly declined. I'll find more examples eventually.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Okay. Here I thought "ya'll" was an example of what "ye" provided perfectly. "ye" is a plural of "you", so it literally means "you all" or "all of you" or something inbetween. So would you rather type out something grammatically inaccurate/sloppy (you all), or use a word that by definition already covers it?

    An example of this:
    aeipathy - continued passion; an unyielding disease
    From that "lost words" website. This word describes "continued passion/an unyielding disease". Not only does it shorten the words required, but also adds to the diversity of subjects we can explain with a single word.

    This single word (which I'm certain we have a replacement for that I can't think of) describes a concept that would otherwise take more time to describe. It therefore benefits our language by adding a much richer vocabulary.

    What's interesting is that, in recent years, the amount of words that describe lengthy or unique concepts have slowly declined. I'll find more examples eventually.
    aeipathy = obsession? fanboyism?
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  29. #28  
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    No, aeipathy covers different definitions. "continued passion" isn't "obsession" nor "fanboyism". You should know that from the very definitions of both words.

    See, this is another problem. People keep lumping definitions together throughout the years. This is why I made the joking statement that it will soon devolve into "Lupa".

    http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=awkward&gwp=13

    Here's one word that has suffered beyond any recovery. From its initial definition it has become so diluted with needless (and nonsensical) definitions that misuse is rife.
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    Jeremy,
    you seem justly proud of the strength, vigour and history of the English language. You, rightly it seems to me, wish to protect its positive aspects, yet in so doing you would condemn it to eventual failure.

    What has made English the powerhouse it is, is its dynamism. It is its appetite for words, phrases and usages, adapted and adopted from a hundred languages, a thousand dialects, that give it its immense strength and versatility. Languages that do not change at all - like Latin - are dead languages. Languages that try to fix themselves at a point in their development - like French - lose out in the marketplace of international comunication.

    Not all changes are good - these shall be discarded after a time. Not all usages, at any time, are desirable. Do you think the street vendor outside the Globe theatre made as effective a use of his language as Will Shakespeare?

    If you wish to condemn incorrect usage that weakens meaning you'll have my 100% support. But an outright, wholehearted condemnation of change, which is what you seem to be arguing for, is wholly contrary to what makes the language so powerful. [And if someone says 'very unique', thereby qualifying an absolute I shall hunt them down and kill them.]

    In the matter of adaptability and promotion of the archaic, methinks thou doth protest o'er much. Y'all take care.
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    I am not arguing for a condemnation of change. I am arguing for a reversal of said change. Do you know why "Ye" was probably removed? As well as the other handful of words used for second person? The french.

    Thanks to the T-V distinction, and the french introducing it, it became common to speak to everyone as though you were kissing their ass. Therefore, "you" became the standard regardless of whether it made sense or not (it was "polite").

    This change is damaging, not helpful, as it removes "ye" which we need as a plural word. Interestingly, this is change in itself, as "ye" was a subject/object distinction which I'm not sure we need. So far, I only subscribe to using the plural form (so do various irish dialects).

    If you think combating retardation is a bad thing, then that's where we strictly disagree. Y'all is retarded. Any grammar teacher that isn't from the south will tell you that.

    What makes English a powerhouse is indeed the fact it has a large vocabulary base. Capable of conveying almost everything from language to language. But that does not protect it from illiteracy. Accepting "y'all" as a common standard over "ye" may be "new", but it definitely does not match. I am not combating change, I am combating stupidity.
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    I think it's useful to compare "ye" to "y'all." The latter is used by various speakers of African-American Ebonics dialects which are regionally varied across the USA. What is the tangible (if any) transformation or shift between "ye" and the contraction formatted "y'all?"

    From a geometric standpoint (loosely speaking here, chuckles), how does the borrowing of words from other cultures arising from cultural integration connect with contractions and hybridizations? For example, many American cooks have colloquialized culinary jargon words/entrees such as pilaf and chutney and made it very comfortable for multi-ethnic conversation (on a side note, the word pajama is somewhat borrowed from the Indian word for casual comfort clothing called "paiyee-jamma" (which means leg cloth)).

    The mingling of cultures creates the mingling of words, and the invention or colloquialization or simplification of words can be environmental or economic. In New Orleans for example, contact between French, Haitian, Native-American, and southern bayou American peoples have yielded intriguing conversations about culture-mixing celebratory culinary dishes such as gumbo. Gumbo, incidentally, has grown from regional prestige into a nationalized American exploit (which is odd and interesting in its own right).

    Perhaps space-time comparisons (cross-culture versus single culture evolution) yields insights into the structural (and hence conceptually or sensually geometric) qualities of the development of "ye." We can imagine theoretical conjecture statements such as, "'Ye' gave way to 'you' for a more formal but festive reference to speaking with people not of differing social rank or class but simply people of differing background or culture group."
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman View Post
    Language is like everything else, evolution by natural selection
    Exactly it's about memes.

    There would be fewer worse things or more boring to cultures than sterile and a static language.

    If people think a word is stilted, boring or just confusing (e.g. inflammable, regardless) they modify it to make sense in the context they are living in. Bravo.

    It's not only words that are changing, it's how people project ideas in bullets more often than formal complete sentences and put them down organized and set on a page for clarity of presentations and on web pages. It's is a welcome improvement that should be taught because it works much better than indented word walls.

    So ye better to go w/ it.
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    Any ideas as to what the word furry refers to . As in ,you are the furry ,or you become the furry. I have seen it used on websites tv etc.
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    Languages evolve, as does everything else.
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    Personally, I enjoy a language that is living. A language that stagnates dies. I have read many historical records of people fighting against change in language, and yet, it happens despite them, and the people born into the new era find themselves able to communicate. I think communication is what is important, not the personal preference of how to communicate.

    Is not english itself a bastardiziation of many different languages? The only language I know of that has some form of control is french, and they don't have a word for 70, 80, or 90; but I can help them out... Septante, Huitante, Neuvante; if they are willing to accept the addition of new words.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes View Post
    Personally, I enjoy a language that is living. A language that stagnates dies. I have read many historical records of people fighting against change in language, and yet, it happens despite them, and the people born into the new era find themselves able to communicate. I think communication is what is important, not the personal preference of how to communicate.

    Is not english itself a bastardiziation of many different languages? The only language I know of that has some form of control is french, and they don't have a word for 70, 80, or 90; but I can help them out... Septante, Huitante, Neuvante; if they are willing to accept the addition of new words.
    They could always use their fingers.....*chuckle*
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    They could always use their fingers.....*chuckle*
    That's what she said. I mean, literally, she just said it. I quoted it.
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    I was wary of commenting in the thread because the OP is just so misguided and wrong... However,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Pancakes View Post
    Is not english itself a bastardiziation of many different languages?
    I object to the term "bastardization" (1). English is a pretty standard Germanic language that has borrowed a large number of words (and a tiny amount of grammar) from many languages - for obvious historical reasons. The large number of lexical items has, if anything, improved the richness and expressiveness of the language, rather than debasing it.

    (1) "to reduce from a higher to a lower state or condition"
    Bastardize - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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    Let's pretend I said adaptation, I'm a bastard, personally, so I tend to not think of it negatively. I also agree that English has been enriched by it's broad heritage.
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    Language goes forward. What people said 100 years ago isn't the expressions we generally use today
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    imho
    it's ok to make up words as you go along, and references to current culture is not a bad thing.
    eg:
    urinarium, and defecatorium
    and once, i came in from the shop and my wife was entertaining some of her grad students, I stopped to chat and be polite, then announced that I needed a shower as I was beginning to feel like that clown on the Simpsons. All the grad students understood the reference, and explained it to my spouse. (Krusty)

    There is nothing sacred about the language.
    That being said: When I was a child my mother placed a dictionary in front of me and said "read this", there was adventure in looking up words then following the trails of their varied synonyms. All of which, led to me writing papers using words that were no longer in standard usage.

    I may have some tools in my tool kit that are the same as the tools in my great grandfather's tool kit, but I most likely do not use them the same way. So too, language. It is just another tool.
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    Ascended, RedPanda, babe and 1 others like this.
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    I for one refuse to let my vocabulary and intellect become limited by modern day. If you do not know the words, how can you think of the concepts?
    there are approximately 200 000 words in common usage in the english language. how many do you use on a regular basis? i reckon if you can't communicate in an intelligent manner with that amount of words then bringing back ones which have gone into disuse wont help you.
    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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    So would you have the hundreds of English dialects change to someones' concept of a standardised language? And lose the sense of history that modern dialects contain within themselves? Sociolinguistically speaking this idea is impossible. I shall forego expressing what my sanity would have me say, as it would likely not be pleasant.
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    If you assume that changes in language aren't random but serve some kind of purpose, is it possible that there are more situations in which one really doesn't want to specify whether he is addressing the entire group or just one person in the group. Are there instances where it is more diplomatic not single someone out, or not to direct a comment at everyone in the entire group, in other words, to be intentionally vague about it?

    One change in English that is very noticeable is the use of "their" instead of the conventional "his" when the gender of the person isn't known or is irrelevant. It's extremely common in speech and becoming acceptable in informal writing. "His"sounds sexist, and "his or her" his/her is awkward, especially when used multiple times.

    So my theory would be that the benefits of vagueness with "you" somehow outweighed the occasional need for clarity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    One change in English that is very noticeable is the use of "their" instead of the conventional "his" when the gender of the person isn't known or is irrelevant.
    That isn't new. It has always been used as a standard gender-neutral singular pronoun (Shakespeare and earlier).

    This is known as the "recency illusion".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    One change in English that is very noticeable is the use of "their" instead of the conventional "his" when the gender of the person isn't known or is irrelevant.
    That isn't new. It has always been used as a standard gender-neutral singular pronoun (Shakespeare and earlier).

    This is known as the "recency illusion".
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    One Book to recommend to all, "On Style" by William Hazlets written in the 1500's, addresse exactly this issue. In his time it was the inappropriate use of latin phases and complex achaic turns of speech that annoyed him. To condense his book length essay; Use the best word to discribe what it is you wish to express, choosing always the simplest language that will do exact justice to the thought. Ie: don't say it in french if there is a perfectly good english word, but if there is just no common word that says exactly what you need to say then use the word that does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    One Book to recommend to all, "On Style" by William Hazlets written in the 1500's, addresse exactly this issue. In his time it was the inappropriate use of latin phases and complex achaic turns of speech that annoyed him. To condense his book length essay; Use the best word to discribe what it is you wish to express, choosing always the simplest language that will do exact justice to the thought. Ie: don't say it in french if there is a perfectly good english word, but if there is just no common word that says exactly what you need to say then use the word that does.
    Maybe sculptor should read that book...
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    dear fud
    thanks for the thought dadio
    however, I already try and use the most concise word for what I intend to communicate
    sometimes, it works, sometimes not,
    and even
    semper ubi sub ubi ain't gonna help me none
    if'n you gotta bend yer brain a bit to try'n understand, maybe the mental gymnastics will be good for your ossifying mind?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    One change in English that is very noticeable is the use of "their" instead of the conventional "his" when the gender of the person isn't known or is irrelevant.
    That isn't new. It has always been used as a standard gender-neutral singular pronoun (Shakespeare and earlier).

    This is known as the "recency illusion".
    Sorry, I stand corrected. Pronoun antecedent was a pet peeve of many of my English teachers, so I assumed they were stemming the tide of a more recent development. I do think, though, the sexism thing has had some impact on the use of their.

    I often wonder how linguists compare modern verbal use with past years before there were recordings of speech, or how closely written language in the past reflected conversational use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    I often wonder how linguists compare modern verbal use with past years before there were recordings of speech, or how closely written language in the past reflected conversational use.
    That is a challenge. Also, in the past, writing tended to reflect standard or elite usage, rather than non-standard forms.

    However, there are examples of reported speech which can be used to draw some conclusions about the speech of different groups throughout history. Obviously, a number of these may be reports on how "wrong" or "primitive" the speech of some groups are, and so they may exaggerate or invent differences. This bias can be overcome, to some extent, by comparing a number of sources.
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    So how do you feel about cursive writing being edged out of schools?

    Personally I object!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    So how do you feel about cursive writing being edged out of schools?

    Personally I object!
    old memories
    When i was in high-school, i had what some would call an atrocious hand, and as i looked like my (one year)older brother and followed him, i got a lot of flack that had been earned by him, including from my freshman English teacher. After surviving that dust-up, I was not a happy camper. The entire year was one of sadness and pain.
    Fear and trepidationn were my companions as I sat in sophomore English on the first day. A man came in who was rather narrow at the shoulder and broad at the hip. He strolled up to the blackboard and proceeded to write in cursive. I sat there in amazement watching the chalk as it touched the board. His hand could have been my own, and I knew that we were going to get along just fine.
    His name is(was?) Don Beveroth (god bless him) and joy of joys, I had him for the next 3 years. He had no problem reading my papers as I had no problem reading his assignments.

    So, no curses for cursive here.
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  57. #56  
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    I don't see the connection.
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    Hi John Galt, welcome back. I was worried about you.....

    as/re:
    I don't see the connection.
    Do you really want to?
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    Ask someone from the 18th century what a "zombie thread" is.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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    This for the agent of resurrection:

    Oyez oyez oyez the court is now in session.
    (the z is silent, and it sounds like Oh Yee, oh yee, oh yee)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Hi John Galt, welcome back. I was worried about you.....

    as/re:
    I don't see the connection.
    Do you really want to?
    I always thought the whole point about cursive writing was that it was connected. Therefore my post's sub text said the exact opposite of what the text said, which I thought would surely appeal to you.
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  62. #61  
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    yes
    but
    I'm a tad dense some days(especially concerning some forms of humor)
    thanks for the explanation

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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    So how do you feel about cursive writing being edged out of schools?

    Personally I object!
    And the science agrees with you.

    Two problems, while many states are moving to get rid of hand writing altogether and trying to switch to keyboard input, there's a lot of research to suggest that hand writing is much more effective to develop children's brains.

    Brain activation patterns resulting from learning letter forms through active self-production and passive observation in young childrenThere is also research to suggest that cursive is the more effective than printing.
    Learning cursive in the first grade helps students - UdeMNouvellesThe non scientific rush technology without well established research that shows it's more effective is one of the big reasons why US school are also among the least efficient in terms of achievement per money spent.
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    Y'all realize that English itself is just a perversion of German, right? Thou is Du, Thee is Dich, Thy is Dein. The Anglosaxons were a Germanic tribe after all. They spoke a dialect (perversion) of the German language, and then adopted all kinds of borrowed words from the cultures around them and it became English.

    And throughout the middle ages, that is *exactly* what the scholarly class thought of it as. King Richard, the King of England before Prince John, was famous for saying that he spoke French to his wife, German to his horse, and English to his dog.

    England's later rise to power is what imbued the language with a sense of fabricated legitimacy. Shakespeare wrote during a time when the empire was on the rise, and so people are happy to forget just how many changes and perversions the language had already undergone by his time, and think like that he spoke the original version.

    I definitely agree that he made the version of the language which he spoke sound beautiful. We should be discussing the diminishing aesthetic beauty of the language. That would be a more interesting discussion.
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    The "famous" saying you refer to was not by King Richard and you've misquoted it, I think you mean the quote by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who actually said "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse." In fact there is a great deal of scholarly debate among historians as to whether Richard I actually understood any English. Despite being born in Oxford he was a Norman French aristocrat and would have spoken French as his first language.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I don't see the connection.
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    John Galt wrote:

    [/QUOTE]I always thought the whole point about cursive writing was that it was connected. Therefore my post's sub text said the exact opposite of what the text said, which I thought would surely appeal to you.[/QUOTE]

    I always found it a bit of a form or art sometimes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    The "famous" saying you refer to was not by King Richard and you've misquoted it, I think you mean the quote by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who actually said "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse." In fact there is a great deal of scholarly debate among historians as to whether Richard I actually understood any English. Despite being born in Oxford he was a Norman French aristocrat and would have spoken French as his first language.
    What did he speak to his mistress (not included in the general *women* category)? :devil:
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    Quickie on languages, People use it and like money some of it sometimes becomes trash,inflation etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Y'all realize that English itself is just a perversion of German, right?
    English is not more a perversion of German than humans are descended from rabbits. They share a common ancestor.

    England's later rise to power is what imbued the language with a sense of fabricated legitimacy.
    It is (and always has been) of course as legitimate as any other language.

    We should be discussing the diminishing aesthetic beauty of the language.
    Or the fact that every generation has said that about every language for all of recorded time. Strangely enough, despite their fears we haven't ended up speaking in meaningless grunts (with the possible exception of teenage boys).
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  71. #70  
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    as/re post 68
    Hyperbole is a common rhetorical devise which I despise.

    I have a preference for using words and phrases with their original intent whenever I know that intend, which tends to obfuscate my intended communication.

    (anecdote)
    I was partially raised by an uncle(by marriage) and his family. I worked with him on and off for several years as an adult. He spoke seven different languages. And, then, he had a stroke(several actually, one finally put him in a chair, unable to speak, crying and drooling on himself---ouch). After one of his strokes, he used many different languages in the same sentence. It seemed as though his mind was choosing the best word or phrase for the subject at hand. It was a very good thing that I had worked with him long and often enough to follow his train of thought which allowed me to continue to understand what it was that he was communicating. I learned more words and phrases in different languages during that time together than in all of my language courses in hi-school and university. Whenever I was confused, I spent a lot of evening time with translation dictionaries reconstructing the communication of the day.
    Beyond onomatopoetica, he was choosing words and phrases that resembled the action.
    I found the episode very enriching. And quite efficient; eg: "roust" so simple so expressive. Is this not of the the best that language has to offer?

    I've spent well over 6 decades just trying to learn the language that appears before you, and only partially succeeded.
    So
    If any of you polyglots out there wanna toss in a few words and/or phrases that address issues, actions and things more precisely, concisely, and/or efficiently than their "english" counterparts, please share them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Strangely enough, despite their fears we haven't ended up speaking in meaningless grunts (with the possible exception of teenage boys).
    The grunts from teenage boys are some of the oldest examples of language.
    Their language has remained unchanged for thousands of years.
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    Someday English will be the Lingua Franca of the World.
    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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    Which English? *chuckle*
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    Why, the version I speak of course.

    though my last post was done mainly for humourous effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrispen Evan View Post
    Why, the version I speak of course.

    though my last post was done mainly for humourous effect.
    *cough*....um....*cough, cough* and so was mine *Laughing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    *cough*....um....*cough, cough* and so was mine *Laughing!
    You say that. But "Which English?" is actually a pretty profund question (and a perfect response to the lingua franca question). There are so many dialects of English around the world now. And many of them are mutually unintelligible. At some point, they will become different languages. (Note that that is no real distinction between "dialect" and language" - it is as much political as anything.)
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    we're living in interesting times.
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    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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  79. #78  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrispen Evan View Post
    we're living in interesting times.
    "May you live in interesting times."

    I had thought that to be an Irish blessing-----------and then, I found that it was an ancient Chinese curse....
    ain't life strange?
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    Sometimes it is better not knowing than having an answer that may be wrong.
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    curiouser and curiouser
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    Language evolves.

    therefore, it's only society that determines what good language is.
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    Wiki is NO wordsmith and I wish people would quit relying on wiki for definitions.
    They miss so much when they do and they seem so arrogant/ignorant when quoting wiki.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinky View Post
    Wiki is NO wordsmith and I wish people would quit relying on wiki for definitions.
    They miss so much when they do and they seem so arrogant/ignorant when quoting wiki.
    Right.
    Because it's not at all arrogant OR ignorant that you suggest we should just take your word for it.
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    lol..

    I'd have liked to see the OP living in 18th century Britain:

    "changing thee and thou to YOU?! I hate it! Early modern English forever!!"

    As language is inherently socially constructed, IMO there is no proper language bar some subjective opinion.
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