Living Language

Like any aging parent, I notice language changing all around me. Unlike many aging parents (or grandparents) I don’t decry the kids’ unconventional uses as wrong or ungrammatical.

Language is not under our control. There isn’t any such thing as standard English. Instead of trying to call a halt to internet-speak or to such words as “funner”, which my younger daughter is in the process of campaigning to insert into the language (as in, “It’s funner to go swimming than have to sit in class.”) I merely sit back and watch and laugh. I’m not likely to change my written language much, apart from writing in dialect, but spoken language that I use changes all the time.

These are my children. When I’m gone, their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be speaking English still, but it won’t sound like what I grew up with. I would only be wasting time and sorrow to bewail this. The world changes, the earth turns, the culture adapts, and the world moves on without us. There is no shame in this; only joy. After all, would you really want things to stop when you do?

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