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The evolution of language and grammar nazis

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posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 02:50 PM
I'm (or I was) one of those that some would define a grammar nazi, although english isn't my first language so pardon any errors you might find here.

I hate it every time I see a misused apostrophe or wrong punctuation.

But the other day, in one of my daydreams, I realized that language and literature, very much like any other human form of expression, changes overtime and is in constant evolution.
We tend to cling on to the past, to the shakespearean, the classics, but we don't realise that in another 500 years time (if we make it that far) probably our present language will very much be archaic.

I read somewhere that all around the world, people are incorporating english words into their own native tongue, creating a whole new language. And with the help of globalisation and the internet, imagine the next 50 or 100 years, where will the english language (or any other language for that matter) stand?
And what about the billions of asians (cantonese, mandarin and all the indian languages?)
My guess is that if we dont blow up the whole world in the near future we will see an ever rapidly increase in new dialects. Or will this all instead lead to a global and universal language?

We tend to give too much meaning to words and grammar (well at least grammar nazis do). But isn't language very much like painting? (from cave art to digital) Or music? (from bone flutes to synths and autotune
Is art in any of its forms, just the sum of everything that came before it (plus a bit of creativity)?

Here is a little video I came across today, a speech by the great Stephen Fry, somehow related to this.

So I guess, the moral of this story is, respect language, yes, but don't be afraid to be creative.
Don't be a nazi.

This isn't just about literature, i just realised, so mods please move to a better forum if you so wish.
edit on 29/6/13 by athousandlives because: add

posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 02:59 PM
Funny you bring up Cantonese and Mandarin into your discussion. A good example of a fading language can be seen in the changes from traditional to simplified characters and easily compared with those two languages.

When traditional characters were "simplified" they lost some of the root radicals that gave them meaning or phonetic direction.

In other words, it's kind of like changing cat to ct. There's no "a" to aide the reader into its proper pronunciation. Or, another example would be taking a word like "dominant" and changing it to a simple "nant". The root of the word is now missing, eliminating the very essence of the word.

Root words.

And as you said, globalism is shaping everything. Chinglish is very popular in China, where direct phonetic translations are obliterating the meaning of words.

Perhaps in 500 years people will be speaking some completely non-sensical language. That doesn't mean it's the way it should be though.
edit on 29-6-2013 by boncho because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 03:18 PM
reply to post by boncho

Thanks for your thoughts.
I think we now have a very specific definition of root words. But that is constantly changing as well.
We have words that derive from Old english, saxon, germanic, and from latin, greek, even sanskrit. etc.
Who is to say that in the distant future historians won't be studying root words that we are unknowingly creating right now.
We create and give meaning to sounds and writing as we go.
Just my opinion.

posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 04:44 PM
reply to post by athousandlives

The root in my example was domin as in 'master' ,being latin (dominus)

related words:


If are language shifts and our root words are no longer Latin and Greek, but 20th Century English, I guess it's no different but we will have to go further and further back to understand our language.


Ant had a root of nant, dominant is the root word of nant, which previously had a root of domin, so on and so forth. And as we spoke about before, the direct phonetic translations in Chinese, like Sars, Sa-si, (Canto) it could get entirely confusing in 100-500 years.

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