Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Hard To Stay Objective

A friend of mine sent me an article recently, titled Why do some Americanisms irritate people. It starts out very well and made me very happy. It takes a look at the English language through a linguistic standpoint, explaining how Americanisms (variations of words that were created in America) made their way to Britain and became adopted. It also explains how English has gained power as a world language, specifically because of its ability to absorb and modify any word and that any person can learn and communicate in this language because of that.

Reading through those sections, I was filled with pride. This writer understood that language was alive, that some people thoroughly despise change and look silly nowadays because of it, and that my native tongue is one of the most amazing languages out there.

Granted, these are all things I have said myself, many times, but even still, validation is awesome.

I had to laugh when I got to the second half of the article, though. It devolves into a lamentation of how terms and spellings from British English are being replaced by American ones, how we are using sayings whose origins we are unaware of, and how some words in use nowadays are just plain ugly and vile.

Oh, Mr. Engel, you tried your best. I understand that it's hard to stay objective. It was a valiant effort to be scientific and unattached (or at least unopinionated), but you lost all of your credibility when you started saying the very things you denounced.

Don't mock people who insulted words we now find commonplace, and then insult words we find commonplace. Don't talk about how amazing the flexibility and capacity for growth the language has, then be upset with the words made when the language grows.

And in reference to your last sentence, don't you DARE have the gall to believe that the English you speak is even REMOTELY CLOSE to original.

If you want to be educated, be educated. If you want to be full of pride, then do that. But don't try to do them both in the same piece of writing. I don't care how difficult it is for you to remain objective - put in enough effort to do so.

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