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06-3-2016 18:53:38  #11


Re: On the fecundity of English

TypewriterKing wrote:

.................ongoing expansion of the English language .................

I can't avoid stating the opposite view.  Every time I pass by a TV, pick up a newspaper, or hear a teenager speak, I groan out loud at the debasement, dumbing down and contraction of the language.

Clear and intricate speech is beyond most people, who have given up the battle against the media and have accepted the TV as their teacher, leaving them with little to do but parrot a few simplistic phrases back and forth to each other.

Foreign imports can indeed expand a language, but I see only contraction, and, I'm sorry to say this, but in terms of English, the USA takes most of that blame - hand in hand with media local to the UK and Australia, and elsewhere too I guess, for aping the US.

I spend most of my time now in Australia, and US imported speech is becoming the norm.  People say 'two times' when they used to say 'twice', and so on and on and on.  In nearly every case, the original was clearer and shorter.  I could go on (and on...).


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

06-3-2016 18:56:13  #12


Re: On the fecundity of English

Thread drift, anyone?


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

06-3-2016 20:16:42  #13


Re: On the fecundity of English

beak wrote:

Well, I suppose it's time I owned up; I don't know what people mean when they say 'hipster'.  Is it American for something the rest of us call something else, or a new beast?

You are not alone there so will somebody please tell me what a 'hipster' is. I did consult the bible of the English language, the Oxford Concise English Dictionary but apparently it is American English. I asked my son, a university student but he said he didn't know and my teenage daughter was even less helpful saying they were people who dressed in weird clothes, used typewriters and fountain pens. I am not sure I subscribe to America and England being two nations separated by a common language. One person, an aunt, who was a great influence on me in my youth spoke and wrote perfect Queen's English and it was not her first language either as she lived in Canada. I am not very good at being politically correct but I believe the correct term is to say she was a native American. I expect I should not therefore say her country was Canada either and I trust that does not offend anybody.
 

 

06-3-2016 20:20:10  #14


Re: On the fecundity of English

This is what I have been talking about:  Language, not just the English language, but all languages, adapt to the times.  People speak in dialects which are most comfortable to them.  So what if one person says, "Two times," while another says "Twice."  Both are understood easily enough.  Pretty soon the "Two Times" person will have something to say about how people in the future refer to two of anything.  But one thing is sure:  People will tend to try to speak to each other in terms they believe the other person will understand.  Yes, my language is different, since I'm a Texas native, from your Australian tongue.  But I believe that since we know enough of the same words the other one understands, we could carry on a decent conversation.  Just think of what the 16th century English would have thought about the way we talk in this day and age.


Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness
 

06-3-2016 21:20:39  #15


Re: On the fecundity of English

retro wrote:

beak wrote:

Well, I suppose it's time I owned up; I don't know what people mean when they say 'hipster'.  Is it American for something the rest of us call something else, or a new beast?

You are not alone there so will somebody please tell me what a 'hipster' is. I did consult the bible of the English language, the Oxford Concise English Dictionary but apparently it is American English. I asked my son, a university student but he said he didn't know and my teenage daughter was even less helpful saying they were people who dressed in weird clothes, used typewriters and fountain pens..... snip .......
 

Here ya go, guys.
<http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster>

This and the comments are a useful definition but ... Be careful about wandering around in other areas of the Urban Dictionary; there's a lot of stuff you don't want to know.

 

06-3-2016 21:24:18  #16


Re: On the fecundity of English

TypewriterKing wrote:

.................. but all languages, adapt to the times.  ...............

The change that has happened to English recently is not like any previous.  In the past, people adapted their language based on how they themselves used it, and potential changes had the benefit of road testing by everyone before general acceptance.  That is no longer the case -  the media vomit forth an endless stream of 'garbage-speak' and spread it around the world instantly. 
In the past, the most educated among a society were looked to for best practice.  Now the least educated are the general model.  Not good.


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

06-3-2016 22:21:42  #17


Re: On the fecundity of English

I tend to agree with Beak on this. Most people today (especially young people) simply don't read. And therefore, they can barely express themselves. I love the wide range of words in the English vocabulary. But today's vocabulary is being whittled down inexorably by the mass (video) media. Youtube is full of vidclips of people spending 10 minutes on camera saying something that ought to take about one minute to read if it were written out somewhere. And they typically don't even answer the question or provide the information promised in the title of the clip anyway. That's frustrating.


Bangin' around, this dirty old town, typin' for nickels and dimes...
 

07-3-2016 12:19:02  #18


Re: On the fecundity of English

retro wrote:

You are not alone there so will somebody please tell me what a 'hipster' is. I did consult the bible of the English language, the Oxford Concise English Dictionary but apparently it is American English. 

"Hipsters" are not a North American phenomenon. KatLondon has shared her views of the hipster situation in England a few times in this forum, so I think it's less a matter of language than whether or not you have a finger on the pulse of current trends. 

retro wrote:

One person, an aunt, who was a great influence on me in my youth spoke and wrote perfect Queen's English and it was not her first language either as she lived in Canada. I am not very good at being politically correct but I believe the correct term is to say she was a native American. I expect I should not therefore say her country was Canada either and I trust that does not offend anybody. 

That was a little confusing because it implied that English isn't the first language of Canadians, which it is. So you're saying is that your aunt is a North American Indian? English may not be native Indians first language, but because of our education system most can speak English as well as any other Canadian, which incidentally is a variation that is much closer to the "Queen's" version than the truncated style used south of us. In short, I'm not surprised that she had a good command of the English language, or that it was a dialect more familiar to you.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

07-3-2016 12:37:35  #19


Re: On the fecundity of English

I fully agree with Beak as well, and for years now I've been lamenting the slow and systematic dismantling of our language at the hands of our younger generations. However, I disagree as to the reasons why this is happening. Unlike Beak I don't blame the media, which I happen to be a member of; every publication that I have worked for strove to maintain the highest standards of grammar, and when we used colloquialisms and profanity it was the exception, not the rule, and purely for effect. I place the blame on consumer technology trends, in particular on the popular communication tools that encourage users to use as few words as possible, and even then to chop those words in phonetic bastardizations of their former forms.

Today's kids are growing up communicating through tweets, text messages, and blogs. They don't understand the eloquence of language, and instead have stripped it down like a keychopper to a limited number of parts. When today's kids talk in their bleeps and blurps they often sound more like R2D2 and C3PO than two intelligent beings sharing ideas. The effect that technology is having on language is profound, and you don't have to look past this forum to see the consequences of it all; It doesn't take an English professor at a leading university to differentiate between the posts written here by teenagers and those created by us older farts.   


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

07-3-2016 23:16:25  #20


Re: On the fecundity of English

Uwe wrote:

..............Unlike Beak I don't blame the media............... 

Fair to say that not all media are at fault, sure, and I'm glad to hear that your publication at least has standards.  I think you would have to say, however, that yours is an exception.  I once watched a dinner-time hour of TV; news, current affairs etc., and the standards of English used were appalling throughout.  I'm surprised that the presenters were not wearing baseball caps and plastic tracksuits emblazoned with the logos of 'fashion sportswear' companies.

The major newspapers here seem to be cobbled together by the semi-literate, and it often takes two or three goes at every other line to grasp a clear meaning from it.

Teachers here seem unable or unwilling to give the children in their care any grasp on or control of their own language, and many children leave school with a literary standard that I would have been ashamed of at nine.

The 'blame' can be shared by many areas of society, but the media are the ones stuffing junk into the public's ears 24/7/365.


Sincerely,
beak.
 
 

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