On The Unrestricted Evolution of the Language

The attempt to steer the development of the English language is a noble one, especially as the Internet comes to validate the very worst typists the world has ever known. The notion that English is best left to careen madly downhill is like the notion that dogs should be allowed to chew on whatever they like. Yes, it’s undeniably natural, but it is not good civil practice. If the language can be better understood, guided, and culled while it’s going downhill we’ll benefit from something more akin to irrigation than erosion.

Some words are best kept like precious antiques. Decimatenot only reminds us of a more formal era of language, but it’s original definition reminds us of how differently the people who came before us thought. Sure, I use it to mean “aw, man, just totally trounced!” like any other fella, but let’s go ahead and respect its origins. Call it trivial, if you like. That’s fine. But isn’t it great to have a word that means “reduced by one-tenth” available if you need it? It’s like having a mental connection with a dead culture; it’s being a part of something bigger and older than the decade when you were in grade school.

A fair amount of the linguistic “drift” that’s gone before us has been caused by the collision of different cultural groups and different levels of education. We have better tools for the preservation of the language now, and I think we should make use of them. I don’t think we should restrict the growth of the language, but I think a language that’s allowed to run free has a good chance of getting hit by a car.

Besides, some of us make money off the language and don’t like the idea that our marketable skills can be undermined overnight by any nabob with a bong and a modem. :)