Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Should language be killed?

Languages that are still spoken on a daily level are living things. They change, advance, and often times corrupt. Recently while in Canada I saw a letter to the editor of the local paper lamenting the use of the word "kids" instead of "children". The writer saw this as a dumbing down of language and disrespectful to the youthful portion of our world. There is truth to this editorial diatribe. It grates on me everytime I hear newscasters refer to police officers as cops. Do slang terms really have a place in my home during the six o'clock news? And God help me if one more waiter/waitress asks me and my dining companions, "Do you guys need anything else?" Excuse me, but did you just say "guys." Whatever happened to the word gentlemen? And how did mixed company (men and women) all become "guys"? But even my desire to be called a gentleman is a degradation of the language since I am not born of noble parentage.

All this points to the problem of language as a living thing. Words after a time no longer mean what they should mean. Even Bill Clinton asked for the definition of "is".

Since there is a problem then we need a solution. Dead languages such as Latin have no such problem. Lantin's vocabulary is static and its meanings can no longer change. Thus the medical, legal, and ecclesial worlds usage of this language. No gray areas... right? Perhaps it is time to go back to Latin or at least put a moritorium on English and the other living languages.

Where are you all at on this proposition, huh?


Blogger Dave said...

I can appreciate your concern for this subject, however I am worried about the frame in which you have stated it. Your grammer and spelling have butchered my precious language.

You ask for my position and then have the audacity to add "huh?"

If you wanted to offend me, why didn't you just rape my Grandmother's rotting corpse?

If you can't take the time to plan your essay in English how much better will you fare with Latin?

For more on English; it's history and why it will last forever; I point everyone to "Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music, and Why We Should, Like, Care" by John McWhorer.

Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:17:00 AM  
Blogger Stiletto Tongue said...

"McWhorer" cannot possibly be his real name!! How fitting for this post.

Saturday, August 19, 2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yeah i fucked up. It's McWhorter. McWhorer is the new McDonald's mascot who'll be hanging out with the Hamburglar and the Pimp Shake.

Sunday, August 20, 2006 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Erasmus said...

I can not believe that none of you are rallying behind me cause. You are all becoming so bougoise.

What's the problem? Are you all at, like, some place that holds you totally at bay?

Sunday, August 20, 2006 9:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

What kind of French words are you letting seep into my wonderful English? Bougoise?

I guess if your going to construct your sentences like a pirate ("... none of you are rallying behind me cause.") we should go back to Latin. Igitur perfecti sunt caeli et terra et omnis ornatus eorum. Or some such nonsense.

Monday, August 21, 2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Erasmus said...

Interesting you should mention French seeping into English. Thanks to the Norman invasion all kinds of French words made their way into our vocabulary. Usually the refined words of our language come from French and the rustic one's have the original/Germanic roots.

CBC radio one had a facinating program on last week about the roots of obscene language. Guess what? The one's in English don't have French roots.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:42:00 AM  
Blogger Scheherazade said...

Is it french roots or romantic roots? 'Cuz i remember foggily when i studied sociolinguistics that "puta" and all its beautifully obscene variations (p***y, punannny, pyka--which is russian actually--, puntang, etc...) pudenda/pudendum was its romantic origin i believe. Hmmm i guess that goes for c***t as well and its latin/romantic root "cun(n)."

This is a distant memory and i'm too lazy to research it now, so please correct me if i'm wrong. (oh i also have a tendency not to cap words in informal english Erasmus; is that an affront to the language as well?)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

It's all well and good that French hasn't very many good swear words. It only proves the superiority of English to have the world using our strong explitives to express anger and frustration. Even the French use "shit" sometimes. Really it's just a better word.

Even if some of our best swears come from the romantics, it is through English that we perfected them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Erasmus said...

Perhaps to bring this whole thread to a close we have come to the realization that language is alive and continues to morph from its ancient roots. There is nothing that we can do about that and in the end that is the beauty of it.

As far as the origin of our stronger vulgar words (and I remind you that vulgar means common)I am not an expert. I love the French language personally, and their (at least French Canadian) obscene words all have to do with Christ, the Sacraments, and the Church which I find disturbing and fascinating.

And as far as not capitalizing words... Well, that is laziness I will blame on Al Gore... I mean the internet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 9:01:00 PM  

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