Is the English language going extinct?

Reading the paper today while convalescing from a nasty flu, I came upon an article that confirmed my fears of a few years ago.  The English language is dying a slow and horrible death.

Feel free to call me a fuddy duddy or old-fashioned, but I am a strong believer in the Queens English.  I shake my head when passing a fast food outlet and I feel temped to use the “Drive Thru” or feel the need to go to “KFC”.

Why as a people do we feel the need to be so rushed that we can’t even use proper English or the proper name for a business?  At first what I thought was just poor grammar for the price of a quick dollar has trickled into our daily life and sadly into our educational system.

The University of Waterloo in Ontario, requires its applicants to take and pass a basic English literacy test.  Sadly a full third of those tested are failing.  Now these are supposed to be high school students who earned top marks to even be considered by the U of W.

Students who are frequent users of such internet social sites such as Twitter seem to be among the offenders.  At Simon Frasier University the director of academic advising, Khan Hemani reports that professors are horrified that academic papers are handed in with web jargon such as  smiley faces and abbreviations.  Other offenders that rank high in the list are “cuz” instead of because, and “alot” instead of a lot.

In my humble opinion we could blame the academic proving grounds that teach our children.  But really as a society we have let our collective guards down.

When McDonald’s needs to become “McD’s” there is something fundamentally wrong with the pace of our society.  Yes, I know that over time the more a short form is used the more acceptable it becomes. But really why do we need the short form in the first place?

Language is really one piece of the puzzle that can enrich our culture, would Shakespeare have made such a great impact on literature, if Romeo would have texted Juliet?  Somehow “Romeo oh Romeo, LOL my fair Romeo…BRB Phone”,  just doesn’t have the same bite.

6 responses to “Is the English language going extinct?

  1. Monday the quiz show “Jeopardy” started its College Tournament. One of the categories was “Average” Joe, averaging numbers.
    All answers were simple averaging tasks but only one was answered correctly and that one took two tries.
    These were supposedly smart students and they couldn’t do simple arithmetic! They don’t learn because the computer can do it for them.
    They don’t understand the point of this is not knowing something but knowing how to think.

  2. Welcome back Cindy!!

    You are absolutely right on this point, I fear.
    We tend to live in a society right now that is too afraid to tell a child “NO”.
    There is even a debate going on right now here in Winnipeg on whether or not it is acceptable to fail students who don’t make a passing grade.

    It’s pretty simple I think, If you can’t do the work you don’t pass the class, a little shame can go a long way. There is no need to be mean about it, to the child.

    How many people of our advanced years had the real threat of failure spur them on to at least mediocrity??

    Hope you are enjoying this place, keep reading and commenting!!!

  3. Teacher's Pet

    Perhaps while ranting about language you should take stock of you own, many errors:

    “We tend to live in a society right now that is too afraid to tell a child “NO”.
    There is even a debate going on right now here in Winnipeg on weather or not it is acceptable to fail students who don’t make a passing grade”

    The correct word is whether. Whether and weather are homonyms and you frequently miss-spell as in one post stating a place “gets a bad wrap” its rap. Bad rap. Thru is an accepted expediency. Maybe you better hit the books a little harder.

    • Point taken Teacher’s Pet.
      I never claimed to be above the odd error. I do thank you for correcting my sometimes poor spelling.

  4. I love the english language and yes, it’s getting to be bastardised (don’t kill me, I don’t know how that spells properly actually :)). I’m swedish but live in London and my english is better than most of the younger born english people which is scary. But I see this in sweden as well, with all the acronyms going around, I have problems reading text messages from my nephew due to all the BTW LOL CY but in the swedish language, since I don’t live there anymore, I have lost out on these words now and feel mighty old when I have to call them up to translate what on earth they’ve just texted me 😀

  5. Well Rincewind as long as you don’t mind a few odd mistakes that I make here and there, you are more than welcome to pop by anytime.
    Thank you for the comments!!