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Will I be “proven” right ?

Posted by Big John on May 30, 2012

I’ve just been reading that a survey by Oxford University Press of British children’s writing habits has found an increasing use of American vocabulary and spelling.

American vocabulary and spelling with words such as garbage, candy, sneakers, trash can, sidewalk, and soda featuring in much of the children’s written school work.

Now I’m not too bothered by this as the British have always enriched their language by adopting ‘foreign’ words. Just think of how many words we use today which originated in places such as India and other parts of the good old ‘Empire’.

I know that English is a contrary language, but what I do find slightly annoying and often very amusing at the same time is the American ‘corruption’ of English regular verbs in their past tense. The obvious ones being .. “dove” .. instead of dived .. “pled” instead of pleaded .. and of course .. “snuck” instead of sneaked. A new one on me, which I came across recently is … “drug” instead of dragged; as in .. “being drug back to the dark ages“.

I don’t think that we will be .. “Two nations separated by a common language” .. for much longer, for we British are being drug by our children towards …

…   the language of the future.


5 Responses to “Will I be “proven” right ?”

  1. rummuser said

    I am sure that you will get a big laugh out of something that I have sent you by email. Sad I cannot do it here!

  2. It’s quite an interesting phenomenon, actually. Verbs are often divided by grammarians into two types, “weak” and “strong” (or, sometimes, “regular” and “irregular”). While most verbs each follow one of the patterns of formation, certain verbs, usually the most common, behave erratically. Consider, for example, the verb go with past tense went, or the verb be (“am”, “are”, “is” – just for starters).

    Usually, the strong verbs “weaken” with time, as people mistakenly try to apply the patterns of regular verbs to them. It is unusual, I think, for verbs to go the other way, i.e. to become “stronger” or more “irregular”. It is this process of “strengthening” that the American invention of spurious past tenses suggests is happening there.

    I don’t think it is any cause for concern because, as has been said many times, “English” is not a language but a family of languages, some of which are already hovering on the brink of mutual incomprehension. Different Englishes can quite happily co-exist and run along in parallel (e.g. consider academic English, Scots English and Geordie English, in the British Isles alone).

    In the meantime, English is still spreading and making a very strong (some would say unstoppable) bid to become the world language. Not a bad trick for the patois of a small bunch of marauding pirates and invaders. If an English does become the world language (i.e. everyone speaks it as well as their own local language), it will quite happily coexist with local varieties such as ours.

  3. Betty said

    I do hope you don’t adopt our atrocious grammar and spelling. A few decades ago, the powers that be decided it was not necessary to teach grammar and spelling, as well as critical thinking, in our schools. The result has been generations of semi-literate young people who can’t figure out for themselves what is wrong.

  4. Firstly, hopefully, any problems that have snuck in will not mean you’ve been drug into adopting a bunch of bad habits. Secondly, your post was rad.

  5. joared said

    I ‘thot’ language was always evolving as words fell out of use, new ones were added, spellings and pronunciations changed? How do we know when to adopt these changes?

    I, for one, would like words to spell as they sound — no silent sounds. No more words that sound the same, but can be spelled differently to have differing meanings. Why not just re-work the English language??? *grin*

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