Why we need English 2.0

11-17-2008: I wrote this, in ignorance of a lot of truth about language.  As Seth pointed out, most of my complaints were aimed at written English standards, as determined by some abstract association of English scholars, dictionary authors, and organizations like the MLA.  All other rants were naively uninformed.

English has been changing since it’s creation, just like any language. The difference between American English and most other languages is the incredible amount of hybridization that is constantly occuring. As referred to as a cultural melting pot, the States are also a great linguistic melting pot.

So which version becomes 2.0? Ebonics? 1337 Speak? TexMex? Engrish? or what? Well this is part of the problem and the reason that there hasn’t been a huge movement to renovate our language. The concept isn’t really all that new, nations have been implimenting new standards for languages and alphabets since mass communication has been possible, and somewhat before. Korea for example created an original phonetic alphabet in the 20th century and it only took a little over half a century for it to become the primarily used written alphabet.

My ideas for 2.0

-Remember when you learned the alphabet in school? How they tried to explain long vowels and short vowels and they used little symbols to designate which made which sounds. Why don’t we see these after learning about them, they would make reading english much more user-friendly and much more easily standardized so as to prevent the changing pronunciations of “oo” versus “u” versus “o.” Why does the sound have to depend on the word it’s in? Doesn’t this seem a little stupid?

-Along the same lines as above, get rid of types of phonetics that are rare or outdated. Most people mispronounce “climb” as “clime” anyway, so why not change the spelling? The dictionary could be re-written, they make new editions frequently anyway.

-Get rid of stupid grammar rules. I have to hand it to the guys in charge on this one, they’re working on it. It is now somewhat acceptable to verbify words and split infinitives, but there are still a large amount of pointless grammatical rules that are being maintained for reasons no better than tradition.

-I could list a hundred and one specific instances of things that are stupid, but I’m getting tired of ranting, I think you probably get the point.

I do however recognize the challenge that reworking the entire language (and quite a hefty language we have) poses to everyone, speakers and writers alike. What would we have to do to actually change it? Make people interested in simplifying it, on a large scale. That’s really all it takes.

About evilestmark

Writer, Yogi, English, and Japanese teacher living in rural Japan.
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5 Responses to Why we need English 2.0

  1. sethjohnson says:

    Okay, but, right now at least, the only place it matters if you use “correct” English is formal writing (scholarly articles, newspapers to a lesser extent). So wouldn’t you just be changing the standard for formal writing?

  2. evilestmark says:

    Ah, I forgot to mention WHY hahaha. It’s incredibly important for learning english. Obviously there are more improvements for the simplicity of learning it than I listed, but ESL (english as a second language) is a very big thing, and methodology within ESL is also becoming pretty talked about. So if you can simplifiy the language itself than you can simplify teaching it to everyone. Hell it would help first language learners. The literacy rate in America is still depressingly low.

  3. sethjohnson says:

    Okay, but, it sounds like you are only interested in altering *written* English, which is something worth specifying, though I guess it was implied.

  4. santana ogustav says:

    about engilsh

  5. evilestmark says:

    Haha it’s funny that I wrote this, it was clearly posted before I studied much history of linguistics.

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