Politics of the English Language

The English language has become adulterated. “Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble.” Modern writers are becoming less concerned with the use of actual proper language and more concerned with the idea of just conveying what they believe is proper English. “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else…” No longer are we original as writers; instead modern writing involves recycling ideas and styles. No longer are we accurate as writers; instead modern writing involves using less than ideals words to explain ourselves/ our point of view. Today’s writers are more concerned with the ease of writing than the actual content and formatting of said writing.

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“Wat up wit u”

Texting has certainly changed how we use the English language. I can remember the first time I used text messaging; typing out full words and using proper grammar and punctuation. But, times have changed, and this texting revolution has altered the way we informally speak to one another. Gone are the days of typing out full words. Gone are the days of proper spelling and punctuation. Welcome to the new world, where four letters (ttyl) can convey an entire sentence, where commas do not exist, where understanding what someone is saying is a challenge.

Do I feel that this texting revolution has changed how we communicate? Mildly. While I do see the spread of “txt speak,” I do not think it has displaced proper english entirely. But, I speak from the demographic of 21-27 year olds. Today’s youth is an entirely different animal. Having spoken to several young Americans, I found that they lack the ability to concisely express themselves. Can this be solely attributed to this texting revolution? Probably not. But, it is very evident that the use of this short-hand “txt” writing style has changed the youth’s ability to properly convey their feelings. I feel as if it has limited their vocabulary and speaking skills, almost to a point where they simply cannot explain themselves properly. We cannot let the use of proper english die-off.

Mother Tongue Reaction

In this piece by Amy Tan, the idea of language and language skills are key. After reading through the excerpt, I found it to be eye-opening. Having grown up in an English speaking home, I never had to worry about speaking in different tongues to different people. My native language is English and my inner dialogue is English. I couldn’t imagine the frustration in not being able to express myself eloquently; not being able to express how I feel, not being able to explain to others what I might have seen. Unfortunately, you become forced to deal with individuals who view you differently, who view you as a lesser individual. This is why language comprehension and expression is such a large part of who you are socially. In this country it isn’t about the content of your thoughts, but your ability to express these thoughts to others clearly. Without this ability, no matter how smart you might be, people simply do not take you seriously. Linguistic capabilities go hand in hand with how much credibility you carry within society. And credibility is what affords you opportunity in this world.