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Dave Cottrell

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The Murder of the English Language
12/5/2012 3:31:59 AM
Greetings, dear friends,
The very best, safest, most lucrative, lowest cost business idea in the world will not go very far if it cannot be expressed in a way that other people will understand. Words, carefully chosen and placed in the correct order, make one of the biggest, if not the very biggest, difference in the success or failure of a business, especially in the only world.
What has happened to the English language? In scarcely a generation, it has been murdered, butchered and nearly forgotten in radio, television and the printed media.
Our once beautiful language has been reduced to a small handful of monosyllabic grunts, and continues on its dizzying nosedive into oblivion. Back in 1611, at the time that great literary work was printed, the Authorized King James translation of the Bible into English, our language was complex, powerful, meaningful, expressive, and incredibly beautiful.
Today, if a Bible translation is rated at higher than a Grade 5 level, it's considered too complex and difficult for the average reader, and many translations are even simpler than that.
In the time of King James and Shakespeare, you could tell by the words that were used, for example, if the speaker was speaking to a group or an individual, depending on whether the word, "thou" was used, or the words, "thee" or "ye." (singular and plural) The same rules applied with many other words, making the language far clearer and sharper than it is today.
In the 19th century, some of the greatest classics of all time were written by people such as Charles Dickens, James Fenimore Cooper, the Bronte sisters,Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott, and many others.
In the 20th century, works of such magnitude as those produced in the previous century became far fewer, to the point where it would be both extremely unusual and likely very poor business to produce such a work today. It just wouldn't sell!
At one time, anyone who could read would find it pure joy to immerse themselves in a book written by a great author, even going back to the time of Homer and Plutarch. The books were vividly and brilliantly written with such descriptive and excellent language as to put the reader completely into the setting!
Today, most of the words that would create such a setting are too long, too difficult, and too much bother to read. People would rather watch a TV show with people speaking to one another with at most a Grade 3 level of English, and more often than not, with language filled with idioms and colloquialisms that would make a person from a foreign country, who has actually learned English properly, shake his or her head in wonder, having absolutely no idea what the people are saying at all.
Will it end? It doesn't seem so. The "new" approach to teaching language in the Western World is the "whole language" approach, which teaches children simply to sight read a small handful of "key" words, and to guess the rest by their context. The idea is that children learn to talk by being immersed in language in their home, so they should be able to learn to read by being immersed in words at school.
It seems to me that the people who came up with such an idea have read far too many Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes books!
Thankfully, there are still some good teachers who are still trying to squeeze in spelling, grammar, and excellence in reading, but they are swimming against an ever increasing current of opposition.
Parents MUST spend time with their children encouraging them, helping them and challenging them to read ever more difficult language if there is to be any hope left at all for our once-great language. Otherwise, it will continue to be cut up, cast off, and buried in the refuse it is rapidly becoming.
That's my re-rant for today!
God bless,
Dave
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Michael Caron

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RE: The Murder of the English Language
12/5/2012 4:30:07 AM

Hi Dave,

This is an interesting subject. I sure hope that Sir Roger comes by to point out a few faults for us. That would be just Ducky. When you refer to the English language, are you referring to England English?, or English in general. The reason that I ask this question is because the English language is spoken in many countries throughout the world and entertwined with words and customs of localized non English speaking people. The country of Australia began as a Penal colony, where many people from England were brought to serve out their time. Over the uears they were influenced by those that already lived there including fishermen and Pirates. They developed their own distenct accent and twists on English words to make them their own. When the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, one of the first plan on their agenda was to rewrite the English language to the point to where it is difficult now for an American to understand a Brit completely. As people began tomograte from different countris the the United States of America they tried their best to learn the new language. In the prosess some words from their native language slipped into conversations when they were unable to thing of the American translation. When a person sneezes, the most common expression from people near by is to say "God Bless You." However another common expression would be Gusuntheit, (Not spelled right). First, the parochial English language used to contain more words than any other language in the world. However, as Americans have adopted expressive and not so expressive words from other languages out of necessity to be understood, I believe the American English language now has the most words of any language, plus we have words the are spelled the same, but have different meanings, plus words that are spelled differently,but mean the same thing. To compound our situation we now have computer talk. O.M.G. or L.O.L. (I use this a lot when I look in a mirror)

In 1964, I was stationed at Lajes Field, Azores (Portugal). A Portuguese friend of mine gave me a tour of the island, bringing me to various businesses throughout the island that were not all on the itenarary of the bus tour. At most of the plants that we visited, my tour guide acted as my translator, however, when we visited the milk plant that supplied all the dairy products for the base, the owner insisted on speaking English. We did not get too far into our conversation for me to realize that he learned how to speak English by reading the Bible. I found myself entranced and began asking him different questions just to hear the beatiful language that we have all forgotten. Yes, it is a shame that we don't still use the language of old, however out of necessity things did have to change. Whether the change was for the better or for the worse, I'm not sure, however it seems that we have to quickly adjust to our surroundings just to survive. I believe that makes tha American version of the English language unique over other languages because we instill bits and pieces of foreignspeak to survive in an ever changing world. It will be intersting to see how others feel about this as well. I might be back in a fortnight.

GOD BLESS YOU

~Mike~

http://www.countryvalues65.com

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Michael J. Caron (Mike) TRUTH IN ADVERTISING!! Friends First. Business Later.
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RE: The Murder of the English Language
12/5/2012 4:37:54 AM

Hi Dave,

after a couple of years absence, in which I finally got to write 22 Books ( manic? obsessive, Yes!), I was shocked here in France to see they are 'celebrating' 20 years of SMS.

I suppose the only thing is something needs to be alive for it to be killed, and SMS is the modern Dead Language as far as I am concerned.

The good side is a recent review showing that Book sales were up by about 5% here in 2012 - but sorry to say they are in the also beautiful French language. I wonder what the figures are from elsewhere?

Of course being an author I can say I have some vested interest in the subject!

Norm Clark
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Dave Cottrell

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RE: The Murder of the English Language
12/5/2012 6:47:54 AM
Hi Mike,

Many of the things you describe are actually contributors to the language, adding to it, rather than taking from it.

Where the problem lies, in my opinion, is when we have such a rich language, yet we use so little of it that without the continuous input of "foreignspeak," slang, and neanderthalian grunts, it would soon disappear!
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Dave Cottrell

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RE: The Murder of the English Language
12/5/2012 6:53:38 AM
Hi Norm!

Wow! 22 books! I am jealous!!

Perhaps you could write a book on this new language they are celebrating, in fact, in the English speaking world, as well.

After all, SMS is neither English nor French, resembles in some ways Welsh, with its lack of almost all signs of intelligent vowel usage, though without the rich history, and in fact, has all the appearance to the uninformed of some modern revived version of the most sophisticated code ever developed in all the fracases of the twentieth century!

Number 23?

God bless,

Dave
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