LANGUAGE CHANGE 9
Isit realistic to Prevent change in Language, Especially English?
Itis not realistic to prevent a change in language especially English.Language is always changing and adapting to its users’ needs(Hellinger & Pauwels, 2007). As long as the needs of Englishusers continue to change, English will continue to change. The changeis usually slow and can be hardly noticed unless it is noticed in the‘poor English’ language being used by the young generationespecially in urban areas due to slang influence. The language thatis being used today by teens and young adults is different from onebeing used by an older generation. Change in language is somethingdifficult to prevent especially in the present world wheretechnology is very high, making people be tech-savvy. Furthermore,people are migrating to different parts of the world freely, wherethey meet people who use different languages thus, corrupting Englishand coming up with a blended language with new words, slangs, andphrases seem to be something that cannot be prevented (Mufwene,2001).
Itemerges as difficult to resist a change in the English languagebecause the needs of new English come up daily. Because of theincreasing needs to give names to emerging devices and processes,English vocabularies have been developed continuously resulting tonew English names and verbs (Leech, 2009). This has led totransformation of the English language from one era to another. Forinstance, English has changed from old English to modern Englishemanating from the vocabularies developed, phonetics, as well asgrammar. Besides, there has been a lexical change in the Englishlanguage over time, which indicates that it is hard to resistlanguage change.
Itis difficult to prevent a change in the English language because thelanguage changes as the needs of its users change. Therefore, itwould be difficult to stop this change since English users’ needsare dynamic. Innovations and inventions in technology, new products,and new experiences demand new words to clearly and efficientlyidentify them and differentiate them from other products. Innovationsand inventions in technology are inevitable, and this means thatlanguage will unconsciously evolve as technology continues to evolve(Hellinger & Pauwels, 2007). For example, consider the wordtexting: texting was originally referred to as text messaging whichused to mean sending a text via phone rather than voice messages.However, as technology continued to change, people began to use theword text to refer to both the message and the process of sending themessage through a phone.
Preventionof change in language is not realistic because there are no twoindividuals who have the same language experience. People slightlyknow a different set of words and different ways of sentenceconstruction, depending on their level of education, age, profession,and so on. When a person interacts with different individuals, he/sheis more likely to borrow new words and phrases from the people theytalk with and later combine these words and phrases to make somethingnew, which will bring a change in language (Leech, 2009). Othergroups in the society will use different phrases and words as a wayof identity. Certain groups of individuals use slangs and phrasesthat are different from other people’s language as a way ofidentity. Also, changes in language can occur as teens and youngadults interact with the older generation. Teens and young adultswill tend to change the words and phrases that they use when they areinteracting with their parents and the older generation (Meisel etal., 2013). They tend to use different words and phrases in order toprevent their older generation from understanding whatever they arediscussing. Teens and young generation also change language wheninteracting with their age-mates. Human beings are creatures thatinteract with one another in the society and this interaction cannotbe prevented in any way. Therefore, as long as people will continueinteracting, the language will continue changing thus, becomingunrealistic to prevent change.
Achange in the English language is something which is inevitable sincethere are different versions of English language that include theAmerican English, the United Kingdom English, and South AfricanEnglish among others. There is a lot of language exchange betweenpeople who use these different versions of English language (Leech,2009). After borrowing from these languages, new words are created byeither shortening longer words or combining words. For example, theword ‘gym’ has formed through shortening the word gymnasium andthe word ‘brunch’ has been formed by combining the wordsbreakfast and lunch (Paul & Norbury, 2012).
Changein the English language is a must and unpreventable because wordorder has changed over time. Word order in the old English was muchmore ‘free’ than the way words are ordered in the modern English.In the old English, there were phrases like ‘they toil not’ butin the modern English, a phrase like this is not allowed sinceEnglish no longer places ‘not’ after the verb in a sentence.Instead, we have ‘they do not toil’. Such changes areirresistible thus difficult to prevent further changes in Englishlanguage (Paul & Norbury, 2012).
Changesin the English language are not preventable because of the increaseduse of the internet (Gvozdanović, 1996). Almost everything todaytouches on the internet. The internet and technology provide the wayto go in the modern world. People are using the internet to connectwith friends, to market their products and businesses, some workonline to pay their bills, others study online among other things.The internet has become part of life in the modern society. Every nowand then, hundred of words are added to the dictionaries. Since a lotof people are now using the internet, they will come acrossabbreviations of phrases like FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), LOL(Laughing out Loudly), YOLO (You Only Live Once), and OMG (Oh My God)among other words. Chances are very high that these words will beused in communicating with other people, making them trend veryquickly. Some words have also been stretched into parts of speechthat are initially intended while other words have emerged as peopleadapt to new technologies. Such words are “selfie”,“cyberbullying” and so on. However, the internet alone is not tobe blamed for language change as radios and televisions have alsocontributed a big share of new words which have further been added tothe English language.
Furthermore,it can also be argued that it is not easy to prevent a languagechange due to the changing political and social contexts. The Englishwords used in politics and as society changes from one stage toanother. Thus, the English language used in politics and as societymoves from one stage to another contribute to language change asthere are differences in the grammar, vocabularies, and phoneticsused (Eggington & Hall, 2000).
DoYou Agree that Change in Language can be Dangerous and Confusing?
Ido not agree that language change can be dangerous and confusing. Achange in language has got more benefits than disadvantages.Evolution in language comes with many benefits such as makingadoption of new technology easier. As technology evolves, there mustbe new words and phrases that accompany it. In case language was notallowed to change, it could have been very difficult to introduce anew technology using just the ordinary long words. New simpler andinteresting words enable people to distinguish the new technologyfrom the old one (Paul & Norbury, 2012). Thus, the adoption ofnew technology will be more interesting as people will start usingnew slangs, words and phrases. Language change is also good for thebrain growth since language center in the brain also grow. A changein language will offer a chance for growth of language center in thebrain as it learns new words and phrases.
Peoplewill also have a better understanding and better hearing of alanguage if language change occurs in the sense that very long wordsare replaced with shorter words and some words are combined to formone word for easier communication. This will also improvecommunication skills of people and their listening skills (Paul &Norbury, 2012).
Anotherbenefit of language change is that people will become languagesensitive especially the children. By just being exposed todifferent words and phrases, children will be able to distinguishbetween these different words and phrases of different versions ofEnglish languages. In addition, language change can boost childrenmemory (Meisel et al., 2013). Children who are brought up in anenvironment where language keeps on changing will have a strongerworking memory than those children brought up in an environment wherelanguage does not change. This means that they will be better atmental reading among other vital skills.
Anew way of seeing things is also another benefit of language change.Learning new words, new language, and new phrases can change the wayin which people see the world. For example, learning South AfricanEnglish words can change the way in which someone perceived SouthAfricans.
Languagechange is desirable because it enhances privacy in communication. Inthe internet, people are able to learn a lot of phrases and slangsthat can be used to prevent eavesdropping (Paul & Norbury, 2012).Teens and young adults can use slangs to discuss issues with theirpeers that they do not intend their parents to hear. Also, codedlanguage is very important in security matters. Coded language shouldkeep on evolving such that it is not easy to understand, when peopledesire to communicate secretly (Mufwene, 2001).
Languagechange makes a language to be more interesting. It would be moreinteresting to chat on social media using abbreviations such as OMG(Oh My God), LOL (Laughing out loudly), ASAP (As Soon As Possible)than when using full words and sentences. These new words aretime-saving too when typing them. It would be very boring if peoplewould still be using words that were being used in the old English.
Inconclusion, preventing language change is something unrealisticespecially when factors that cause it change are taken intoconsideration. People’s needs keep on changing and technology alsokeeps on changing. New technology comes with new words, phrases, andslangs which are added into the dictionary. Interaction betweenpeople is also a big hindrance for prevention of language changebecause people will always interact with people who use differentlanguages and this will lead to borrowing of some words which will beused to make new language. Language change in English is notpreventable as long as there are different versions of Englishlanguage. It would have been easier to prevent changes if there wasonly one version of English language. In addition, the increased useof internet is another barrier for prevention of language changebecause new words, phrases, and slangs trend very quickly amonginternet users. Language change is not dangerous and not confusing.Use of new words, phrases, and slangs has made chatting on socialmedia more interesting (Faust, 2012). These language changes havealso changed the way people perceive other people who use languagethat is different from theirs. Through integrated language, peopleare able to understand others better and have a new way of seeingthings. Therefore, generally, language change is not as dangerous andconfusing as a number of people believe that language change isinherently undesirable and that everything possible should be done toprevent further changes. Language change is desirable, nothing shouldbe done to stop it, and it should be allowed to continue.
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