Acronyms, Idioms and Slang: the Evolution of the English Language.

1229 Words Oct 14th, 1999 5 Pages
Acronyms, Idioms and Slang: the Evolution of the English Language.

Although the English language is only 1500 years old, it has evolved at an incredible rate: so much so, that, at first glance, the average person in
America today would find most Shakespearean literature confusing without the aid of an Old-English dictionary or Cliff's Notes. Yet Shakespear lived just 300 years ago! Some are seeing this is a sign of the decline of the English language, that people are becoming less and less literate. As R. Walker writes in his essay "Why English Needs Protecting," "the moral and economic decline of
Great Britain in the post-war era has been mirrored by a decline in the English language and literature." I, however, disagree. It seems to
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To me it seems clear that anything that serves to increase the academic vocabulary of a society should be welcomed, although not all would agree. For example, many have accused this trend of creating an acronym for everything to be impersonal and confusing. And, while I agree that there is really no need to abbreviate Kentucky Fried Chicken, it does become tiring to have to constantly say Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Transfer Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) when they are both used so frequently when dealing with computers on a network. Not only is it futile for one to reject these inevitably new additions to our language, one would do oneself well to actually learn them. The cultural evolution of English is not as distinguishable, nor seemingly as necessary, as the technological evolution of English, yet it exists nonetheless. It is on this level that the English language has primarily been accused of being in a state of decline, specifically by the incorporation of
"slang" into mainstream language. But Webster's Dictionary defines slang as:

1: language peculiar to a particular group: as a: ARGOT b: JARGON 2: an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech.

In this sense, much of what is commonly thought to be proper English can be said to be slang. When the U.S.

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