From the Archives!—SpecGram Propaganda XIV—The SpecGram Archive Elves™ SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 3 Contents The Pragmatics of Noam Chomsky’s Menswear Criticism and Its Implications for Universal Grammar—P.G. McSim

Prescriptivism and Language Change in American English

By E. Martyn
University of California, Berkeley

The English language is changing at a frantic rate. The OED added hundreds of new words or definitions in 2017 alone.

Many older people, as well as self-proclaimed “grammar Nazis,” feel that the language is becoming corrupted, superficial and ineloquent. However, not everyone agrees that these changes are negative.

“Like, y’all should just chill,” insisted Berkeley Linguistics professor Sandra Garlin. “Language change is like totes normal. Like some ancient old white guys made up some bullshit rules you don’t havta listen to. The kinds of English people actually speak are fine and awesome and not, like, a messed-up version of like school-essay English. Different dialects are actually all cool and internally consistent in their grammatical rules.

“Like, c’mon guys. If language didn’t change we’d still all be speaking like proto-Indo-European. There’d be no words for like cool new tech and that would be totally lame.

“I don’t think English is getting awesomer or crappier. Language just, like, does its own thing. Y’know, things change. You can’t control it. You don’t own it, man.

“Plus like considering a standard version like the BEST version is really messed up and like reinforces existing structures of oppression against like poor people and black people. Not to mention that like English spelling is super nuts and just real hard and annoying to pick up. And it’s gross when people use like an obscure academic jargon, and end up shutting regular peeps out. Cool people should just talk in a way that everyone can get.

“If you want to like learn more, you can read my awesome new paper, ‘Approaching a Non-teleological Methodology: Descriptivism in Diachronic Lexicology.’ ”

From the Archives!SpecGram Propaganda XIVThe SpecGram Archive Elves™
The Pragmatics of Noam Chomsky’s Menswear Criticism and Its Implications for Universal GrammarP.G. McSim
SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 3 Contents