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Is the English language destroying itself?

  

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  1. 1. Self-annihilation?



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To what extent do you think the English is destroying itself (You may say no, but please provide an explanation ;D)

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depends how you define "destroying". Language is always changing, including English. In fact, English in particular: it's a relatively young language and has changed a lot, even over the last century: ****ens' English is recognisably different to modern English, and go back another couple of centuries to Jane Austen... "connexion"? Shakespeare's language contains the slang of the lower classes.

If you want to look at it one way, English is the bastard of several Romance languages, mostly French, with a Germanic base. All languages (ok, can we please not discuss arabic) evolve. If nothing else, language needs to adapt to the world it's being used in: "car" was probably considered an atrocious contraction of "horseless carriage" at one point. "Text" has become a verb because "sending text messages" has become very common. Language would become unwieldy and lose relevance if it didn't adapt.

Sorry, but I don't think this is a good question. Perhaps it would be more relevant to ask whether people's use of language is changing (even saying the language people use is deteriorating is hard to argue: it's more likely the bad stuff is just more visible. Think about it: 100 years ago people's literacy rates weren't that great, let alone their use of contractions!)

Edit: lol at the censoring annihilating half a most revered English author's name. Sorry 'bout that, Charles...

Edited by larry

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I personally believe the english language is destroying other languages. French for exmaple has many words that directly resemble english words, if it isn't just a english word used in french. It's to the point where there is a french academy that regulate what is and isn't a french word that can be used in published scholarly articles. I think it is an amazing idea to have a single universal language however, but I don't agree with languages battling each other like they are today based on the popularity of the language as more popularity=more people speaking it=more dieing languages because speaking icelandic for exmaple won't get you anywhere in this world as far as I know.

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I do not see how English destroys itself :o

I instead think that English does destroy other languages. My friends' group just had a presentation on this in TOK class. English causes other languages to die out. Why? Like in international schools, students must speak English, otherwise they won't be able to express their thoughts. Speaking English as long as they still go to international schools can cause them to speak less of their native language.

Also on the net, on 50% of the websites, the language used is English. Whether you like it or not, you need to be able to speak English then, unless you are smart enough to use Google Translate although it's rather fuzzy wuzzy to translate each page that you browse. Even in this forum we do speak English right?

This way, people are more interested or encouraged to speak English regardless the language that is most commonly used in the world is Chinese. There are more arguments in the presentation that I unfortunately can't remember. As a conclusion, English is not destroying itself. Instead it destroys other languages.

PS. if you want to start a debate/discussion, please start with giving your views and evidences so we can refute them or agree with them!

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Tis an interesting topic. I have not reviewed any of my linguistics text books for a while, but a language cannot exactly destroy itself-unless you're a language isolate such as Andamanese or Basque, a language will evolve. Yes, at some distant time in the future the language will become incomprehensible to past generations, but that is common sense. Would Alfred the Great (King of Wessex, only British King with the honorific 'great') understand the english of Edward Longshanks or Queen Victoria?

So from a linguistic standpoint, I would say no.

However, I do recognize that from other standpoints there is validity to the statement.

Consider that English is allowing itself to become a universal languages. It is comparable to, but not the same as, Latin or Proto-Germanic. Sooner or later it will morph into a variety of regional languages that have only a basic similarity to the original progenitor.

There are countless facets to the posed question.

I like the topic, however.

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This is not a debate. Moved to General discussion until we make it a debate. :D

My opinion?

I don't see why you would say english is being destroyed! In fact, like said above, it's destroying other languages.

I would understand english and french for example battling, but English is going into Arabic as well, which is so weird because they are so far away from each other in terms of origin and usage. This is not for english only by the way, I see that any widely spoken language is to some extent destroying less widely spoken languages. Just like English seems to be destroying languages like French, French has completely destroyed and still destroying arabic in some regions of the Arab world.

So basically my point is, English is not destroying itself..it's destroying other languages for many reasons most important being how English is very widely spoken all over the world and it is seen as one of the easiest languages.

All languages (ok, can we please not discuss arabic) evolve

Who said arabic doesn't evolve? There is not a single country now that speak the arabic that was spoken 100-200 years ago, let alone 1000 years. Classic arabic isn't spoken AT ALL now, so im not going to talk about the 1000 years ago. But there are so many words that were used by people 100 years ago that we don't know now. Countless words! There are still very old people..about 90+ years that are impossible for me to understand when they speak. I am not talking about Berber or Amazigh language..I am talking about Arabic. Not to mention the foreign words used as arabic vocabulary that we have no idea why they are even used in Arabic. If you want my opinion on Arabic language, it is one of the most languages I believe have changed and still changing, not necessarily to the good, and I mean Arabic all over the region, not just north Africa, because if you asked me about North Africa, I would tell you there is no arabic anymore there! So that's my reply to your sentence there, slightly off topic, but it was too tempting.

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@ Mahuta

Sorry, I'll have to plead ignorance here: I was trying to avoid the debate around the language of the Koran not having changed since Mohammed (pbuh) wrote it

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@ Mahuta

Sorry, I'll have to plead ignorance here: I was trying to avoid the debate around the language of the Koran not having changed since Mohammed (pbuh) wrote it

Yes fair enough, like said above, I was referring to spoken arabic, since it's the one we should refer to. :D Sorry for putting that in mind.

Classic Arabic has not changed at all, and it's not used at all. Therefore, when I talked about arabic I meant spoken arabic. :D

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@Larry

Arabic language was not written by Prophet mohammed (Peace be upon him). It is one of the oldest language that was able to survive tell know. They are not sure about the time that arabic language strartd but thy know that it was at least 1700 years ago. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) came only 1400 years ago, so arabic language is older than prophet mohammed era. You can say that the start of islam was a supporter for arabic language, because GOD sent Koran in Arabic, which kept the importance of that supeme language.

@ Mahuta

I do not totally agree with you. Firstly Yes arabic language evolve in some aspects. you and all who know something about islamic history that the language started to have different accents when people like asian for example enteed islam. Arabic language was difficult and it is difficult, so they were not able to speak it probably. I always say that our language is powerful, and it is not affected by people even if they are not speaking it. Secondly spoken arabic it is not that type of change it is an enhansment to any language, to make it easy to speak. Belive it or not classic arabic is in our minds and hearts even if we are not speaking it, and i am completly sur that arabic classic language will never stop and will never die. Arabic language is evolving but it will not be changed, because there is no language that is poweful as arabic. It is the language of expressions, passion and love. And the evolving that you are talking about happened not because arabic language is weak, but because Arabs nowadays are weak. We are not the same arabs who live before 1000 year ago, we started to lose our culture and traditions because we think that western are better. we should stop it, our culture and traditions need enhansment (and islam did it, but we are who keeps some bad ones) but it need no destroying. And you know, how brave and generous arabs were. Language is our identity, and arabs are there because our language still powerfull and it is capable to undergoes all changes in smooth way. This is my opinion and i liked to have it with you.

English language is now the language of the world, and that is the truth. It is not because it is a powerful language, but because it is used in the powerful country (America). If the powerful county changed the lnguage will be removed, this is not mean that it we will be destroyed. English nowadays is destroying languages but this is not mean that it will complete on that way.

By the way, it is very intresting dicussion. Thank you.

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Well, English will never die out in England on the basis of naming things after their origin so I guess I'm always safe :D

I think the only respect in which you can say English is being destroyed would be some of the more deleterious alterations its undergoing as a consequence of being used so widely. If enough people speak a 'pigeon' form of English, it becomes some sort of standard and everybody assumes it's correct. The more foreign usages of English there are, the more it seems acceptable to do that.

As an example (although not a very good one), the prevalence of people who hear the spoken English "should've" as "should of" instead of "should have". If you have enough people making a mistake (and there are certain mistakes carried through in whole populations like poor use of prepositions and words like "the"), everybody begins to make it. The incorporation of certain words (or half-words... yes I mean "lah") is also an example of a change like that.

Really I suppose it depends whether you take the view that English is destroying the languages it's being mixed with or whether the languages it's being mixed with are destroying English by inventing some sort-of half language.

It's also the case that a more international language loses a lot of the variations it had. It seems counter-intuitive and I suppose it's also gaining variations as it becomes combined with native languages and infiltrates them (as everybody else has said) but, for instance, with popular culture and television etc. there's a great mixing and consequently also a 'flattening' of the language's accents and regional words. I have no evidence that it's only happening recently, but certainly the number of people with local accents and slang seems to be less than in the past. People all tend to speak in a much more similar way to each other now than I witness when listening to and watching old programmes etc.

I can't myself think of any more compelling arguments than those. Overall I'm not sure that it's destroying itself as a language, although I think that in some senses, and from a personal point of view, it is being destroyed as a national language re: a source of identity for the English.

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No, I think it's expected from any language to evolve and change. For example, you don't expect the word "computer" to be an English words in the 1500s. Some words are created with the changes in technology. And now because we have a much better communication system in the world, it's easy to know more about different cultures and different languages and so these mix together (in a sense).

And about Arabic, the Classic Arabic did evolve. When I write Arabic I don't use the same language old poets used 1000 years ago.

And sorry Armoruer because we changed your topic to the history of Arabic :)

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I don't think the English language is destroying itself, I just think it's a weird language. Our grammar rules aren't very cohesive, for example., and our modern expressions don't tend to make much logical sense.

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depends how you define "destroying". Language is always changing, including English. In fact, English in particular: it's a relatively young language and has changed a lot, even over the last century: ****ens' English is recognisably different to modern English, and go back another couple of centuries to Jane Austen... "connexion"? Shakespeare's language contains the slang of the lower classes.

If you want to look at it one way, English is the bastard of several Romance languages, mostly French, with a Germanic base. All languages (ok, can we please not discuss arabic) evolve. If nothing else, language needs to adapt to the world it's being used in: "car" was probably considered an atrocious contraction of "horseless carriage" at one point. "Text" has become a verb because "sending text messages" has become very common. Language would become unwieldy and lose relevance if it didn't adapt.

Sorry, but I don't think this is a good question. Perhaps it would be more relevant to ask whether people's use of language is changing (even saying the language people use is deteriorating is hard to argue: it's more likely the bad stuff is just more visible. Think about it: 100 years ago people's literacy rates weren't that great, let alone their use of contractions!)

Edit: lol at the censoring annihilating half a most revered English author's name. Sorry 'bout that, Charles...

Let us not forget that "standard" English only arose recently with the creation of a dictionary and as hinted at in Shakespeare's time you could spell nething hooevr the fook yew wanted to!!

Also, there are completely new varieties of English arising due to the international exchange of language. Spanglish, Panenglish etc

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Come to think of it...

The language might be destroying itself - there are so many words being added to the English Diction that don't really carry much relevance to the language.. This is a great question, but it's one I'll have to seriously ask myself before I can answer, haha :D

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If you ask whether english is destroying itself, you have to ask what the view of English is. For instance, one could say a language continually evolves throughout the years and it is not destroying but development. However, a lot of grammar rules are going out the window in favour of convenience and slang. Although, this could be a phase and not have a heavy impact on the language. People are using nouns as verbs as well as introducing new vocabulalry that 'shocks' some people to why it should be allowed in the dictionary. All that said, the way a language evolves is through acceptance of new laws and words. I don't think you can say you're destroying a language until you have concrete evidence that it is here to stay and not just a language phase. You also have to have something in the past to compare it to. :)

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I do not think English is destroying itself at all.

Instead, I agree with most of the other people here who say that English is the one that's destroying other languages (quite unfortunately too).

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