Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two on the Demise of Our English Tongue

From Michael Johnson and Gene Weingarten respectively — Debasement Is Not Just a Damp Room Under Your House and Goodbye, cruel words: English. It's dead to me.

"Just how debased can the English language become and still be called English?" asks the former. "The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead," answers the latter. "It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself."

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Blogger Bernard Brandt said...

I would have to paraphrase Mark Twain to say: "Rumours of the demise of English are greatly exaggerated." As long as there are those with an eye and ear for the music, the cadences, the imagery, and meaning of English, whether Modern or Classical, it will live on.

I would have to say, though, that modern education, at least these days, is an oxymoron, if not totally extinct. I believe that it is the failure of modern education which has led to the illiterate, tone-deaf, and mawkish use of the English language by most of the young and the chattering classes.

Perhaps we will have to distinguish between good English and modern English. My candidates for such titles would be 'common English', or 'koine English'.

But we need proper diagnosis of an epidemic before we can propose a cure. The cause of bad English is ignorance. The cure is education. The question is whether anyone is interested in applying a cure to the situation.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Fitzhamilton said...

I've been reading essays like these ever since I could read, in about 1977. All by cranks and pendants, which are two synonyms for fool.

8:53 AM  

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