Wordplay is a blog project featuring posts from students enrolled in ENG 320 Grammar and Linguistics (Fall 2019)

Our changing language

 Brooke Kuehn

Our language is constantly evolving. Have you ever thought about how different our language is from the way it was 100 years ago? The way we say certain words or even the words we say today are different. A big question that many people have when they think about our changing language is, is it a good or bad thing? I personally think it is a good thing. Language is constantly evolving to keep up with the world today.

For instance, Shakespeare, reading them today is difficult for most people. Shakespeare is an example of just how far our language has evolved. Why does language change, though?

Source: https://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/blog/shakespearean-language-reign-awesomeness/

Language is constantly changing for several reasons. The speakers, technology, products, and experiences change (Birner). All of these are intertwined, though. They are all intertwined because, if you think about it, we speakers have evolved because of the technology and experiences we have now.



Back in Shakespeare’s time they didn’t have items such as phones, computers, televisions. We have had to evolve our language by adding words and getting rid of some to be able to adapt to our changing world. Words such as: “Abraham-man,” “cowabunga,” or “ginchy.” These words are some we have never even heard of; they are just outdated because we have developed new words in their place or don’t need them at all anymore. “Cowabunga” for example is a word we just have a new word for. Cowabunga today is known as awesome or cool. Another reason that our language is constantly changing is that we all have different experiences with language. Growing up in different states, regions, or countries changes the words we hear and the way they are said.

Source: https://linguagreca.com/blog/2014/08/how-social-media-is-changing-language/

The accents people have and the different pronunciations can really change the way language can be carried on through the years. Language begins to change mostly with teens and young adults. When younger people interact they tend to create their own words and phrases to represent the things they are experiencing. Not all of the words will stick around, but sometimes they do and they cause changes in the language. Take texting as an example. Different generations have come up with their own words or phrases to say things instead of spelling it out.

When they use these different terms/phrases to say things, the words tend to stick sometimes. Younger generations are also the people who come up with slang words. Slang words can be carried through the generations or they can die out with that generation. Language is constantly evolving and changing. Whether the words continue or stop with a generation the younger generations are a big reason our language evolves. One thing is for sure, our language will continue to change and evolve over time and we will just have to go with it.


References:

Birner, B. (n.d.). Is English changing. Retrieved from           https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/english-changing.


Brooke Kuehn is a senior studying K-8 education. She plans to teach 3rd to 5th grade someday. This is her second year at Chadron after transferring as a junior from McCook Community College, where she received an associates of art degree. She is from Holdrege, Nebraska, where she lives with her aunt, uncle, and their two children.

5 thoughts on “Wordplay: Our changing language

  1. Brooke,
    Our language keeps changing more and more over the years. I remember when I was in high school and we had to read Shakespeare. It was very hard to read and understand what was exactly going on. Its crazy to think that’s how our language use to be. I am glad it has changed since than because I couldn’t even image talking like that today. Our language has changed over time because of all the social media that we have now. As the years go on, I think it is going to be keep changing because the technology is going to keep going. I have to agree with you that younger people change out language too. They make their own words and sentences. Great job on you post!

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  2. Brooke,
    You picked a topic that was similar to the topic of my first blog. I think that it is very interesting to look at how much our language has evolved over the years. As with most things, change is important. I think our language has to keep evolving as we are evolving. You made a good point about how language can change depending on the region you are from and the accents that people have. I would agree that our language is always going to continue to change because of new generations. I believe that this is a good thing. I enjoyed your topic and the details you had throughout your post. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Brooke,
    I think you made some interesting points about language evolving. It’s crazy how language is constantly changing, yet we hardly realize it while it is happening. I like to think about how everyone talked in middle school versus college, and how some things that are thought of “cool” back then, are really just so cringe-worthy now. For example, when that whole “YOLO” trend was going on, it spread so fast and literally was on hats and tshirts. Now, if anyone ever says it, it is most definitely used in an ironic way. Great post!

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  4. Brooke,

    I definitely agree that language is evolving. Shakespeare was a good tie in to show the change. This was a seemingly complicated and lengthy language which has since been simplified. Texting and technology has definitely played a role, I feel. Today, we live in a society where we want everything directly and quickly to us. This has had an effect on language as it has shortened and simplified. We have simplified our language by using text isms such as OMG or LOL, and knocking off unnecessary endings in our words such as “eth” in Shakespeare times. I agree with you too that it is a good thing language is changing. It has to change to keep up with the times, just like organisms evolve to better fit their environment. Our world changes, and so do the things around it. Language is one of those things. Great topic of choice and good elaboration!

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  5. Brooke,
    I completely agree that language is constantly evolving for many reasons. I believe this topic can also relate to my first blog where I talked about how there really is no basis for stating a right/wrong way to use grammar. Grammar is constantly evolving and developing along with everything around it.
    Great topic!

    Like

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