The Butchering of the English Language.

by Low-Key Lysmith 68 Replies latest social current

  • Junction-Guy

    In the hills, alot of people pronounce aint like "haint" and it like "hit"

    Not to mention the word "you'ns"

  • White Dove
    White Dove


    That's has a cute sound, "you'uns" for you ones. That sounds natural although I never grew up hearing it or using it. I particularly like the contraction, "young'uns." Cute.

  • Junction-Guy

    I have also heard the word "yours" pronounced like "yorn". ---Is this mine or yorn?

  • White Dove
    White Dove

    Yeah (yes in the German way), that sounds like "your one." I like that one, too:)

  • Leolaia

    "Are not= ain't. That could work if you conjugate it properly. Proper English is just easier to read and listen to."

    Yet even "proper English" requires "I" to go with "are" in cases of contraction inversion:

    Why isn't he sleeping?
    Why aren't they sleeping?
    Why aren't I sleeping?
    *Why amn't I sleeping?

    This might suggest how "ain't" arose in the first place, through a merger of amn't (found in some English dialects) and aren't.

  • Quandry

    Too many students are put in special education for behavioral problems,

    Just to clarify, sometimes "special education" can mean. yes, special programs or classes for those with behavioural problems. One is called adaptive behaviour. This means we take children out of regular ed classrooms who throw chairs, hit teachers, and pound on fellow unsuspecting students.

    These children are kept away from the general populace until they can, with the help of specialy trained teachers, learn how to deal with anger and take responsibility for their actions. I really don't think there are too many students put in these programs.

    I am glad we have them, as it is a protection for the majority of children who don't deserve to come to school and be afraid that they will be beaten up by another student because they happen to be in close proximity when one of these "special" students is angry and wishes to lash out.

    I do, however, agree with you that many are promoted to the next grade who do not qualify.

  • HB

    My two penn'orth........

    I'm not fussed about correct English on internet forums such as JWD; providing people make their points clearly understood, grammar, spelling and punctuation are not too important. However, the writing styles that people use on a forum are like the clothes they wear in public, they give an instant impression of the writer. We are constantly judging each other albeit on a sub-conscious level, and people get to know each other on a forum not just by what is 'said', but by the way it is 'said'.

    Unfortunately it is more difficult to respect the intelligence of a poster who is discussing their views on a profound doctrinal issue and making very clever and well thought out points if they also made frequent and repeated basic spelling and grammatical mistakes. This is human nature even if it's wrong.

    But on the other hand, on the more personal threads, the aim is to find a conversational tone and deviations from standard English make the writers seem more real and human.

    (I'm trying to write in a neutral tone here!)

    In the wider world, I don't worry if friends make mistakes in emails but I do get irritated by lazy or bad mistakes in more formal correspondence such as in newspapers (e.g. "The rise in oil prices effected the stock market"), or on public signs (e.g. "Banana's half price today").

    Some posts mention the role of education in teaching English. A couple of years ago I was helping my then 16 year old niece (who is an average student) with her English literature homework . I looked through her folder and in the previous essay she was required to critically analyse a poem and I was amazed to see she had written in mobile phone text style. I still remember the worst sentence: " the poet is tryng 2 xplain how it wd b beta 2 b dead than btray his frend".

    The teacher had marked this essay with an A grade and made only a brief comment something like " Proper English please" but my niece said that most of the pupils wrote like that and the teachers had more or less given up. I was shocked but I can see a future where this could become the norm unless society makes an effort to ensure it doesn't. Shakespeare, Jane Austen et al would turn in their graves ( .....wher4 R U Romeo?)

    I asked myself why I am irritated? I think its because English is one of the truly great world languages but it is vulnerable and constantly under attack from many sources, so I feel protective of it. We shouldn't be complacent about the position of English. It may seem improbable at present, but If it is weakened and therefore becomes less versatile, history shows it could over time go the way of many other languages which have risen and fallen like empires. The Romans would never have believed that Latin would die out. Admittedly English is the language of the internet, which gives it status, but some experts predict that the predominance of English may eventually wane and Chinese will become the most important world language.

    I am all for language evolving, in fact we can't stop it from doing so. It is a tool and we should encourage any new ways of using grammar that enhance the language and sharpen its power but discourage those that blunt it and degrade it. Laziness with grammar as in the examples quoted by LowKey Lysmith would be serious if they became wide-spread because they make the language less expressive and less versatile. When you take away a verb ending, you take away it's tense which makes its sense ambiguous.

    Waves of mass immigration usually enrich a language for the better by adding new vocabulary. Colloquial or 'street' language add richness to everyday conversations but the problem comes when the colloquial permeates into formal written English.

    The measure of a great language is whether writers can use it express an infinitely wide range of ideas and emotions. Pidgin English developed centuries ago and is now in everyday use in some cultures. However although it is perfectly good for day to day use, the language is not rich enough as a medium to create great literature. (I would be interested to know if any works of literary merit have been created in Creole?)

    Unfortunately language purists are usually seen as pedants. There is an Apostrophe Protection Society which you can join if you are serious about punctuation. (True!)

    Authoress Lynne Truss illustrates the importance of punctuation with the story of an irate panda who walks into a cafe, orders a sandwich, eats it, draws a gun and fires two shots into the air, then goes out of the door. The waiter finds the explanation for this erratic behaviour in a wildlife book which has the following badly punctuated entry:

    Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.

    Those who profess not to care about language should try writing a few sentences without punctuation and read them back.


    PS. I wonder if the JWD word 'dub' will one day enter the English dictionary!

    PPS. Leolaia, I was interested in the historical information about the verb 'to be'. I have elderly friends in rural Devon who still use present indicative 'be' with all personal pronouns.

  • kurtbethel

    Makes me wonder. Is our children learning?

  • kurtbethel

    You may also listen to the different accents.

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