Language Evolution

I struggle with how to reconcile the fact that English is an ever-evolving language and my belief that Americans aren’t fluent enough in their native tongue to demand others learn it.

We live in a country that looks down on multilingual people–they’re either “too lazy” to learn English or “stuck up” for wanting to learn another language. I don’t come across this at all in Chicago, but when I lived in Indianapolis and nearby suburbs, it was (and still is) a common attitude. But this is coming from people who say “warsh” instead of “wash.” People who use the word “ain’t” all the time; who use double negatives; who end their sentences in prepositions; who use the term “they” when trying to be gender-netural with singular pronouns.

Many linguists are accepting of different pronunciations, colloquialisms, creoles, pidgins, and dialects because these are cultural and regional differences that people have created in order to adapt to other groups and their environments. 

On the other hand, I often find myself expecting that people learn their native language with at least some fluency before demanding others accept their random mangling of it. In other words–while we are perfectly capable of ending a sentence in a preposition (it happens all the time, right?), we should at least know why it bothers others, or why this “rule” came into our language before we “break” it.

I know there are a lot of weird, unexplained, confusing rules and that many of these things aren’t actually hard-and-fast rules, but carryover from primers translated from Latin, which did have rules, that just started getting printed up in order to find a way to provide teaching materials during the Industrial Revolution.

All that being said, it’s DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME, not Daylight Savings Time. And it should probably be hyphenated. Is it time that is being daylight? No. Is it time that is being saved? Yes. So it’s Daylight-Saving Time. But whatever.


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