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Reply #18: Shakespeare complained about language being misused too. [View All]

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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 02:49 PM
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18. Shakespeare complained about language being misused too.

And, for the record, "ye" did not evolve into "you", "ye" and "you" are two separate words with two different meanings that were both used side by side. (See German for the distinction between "Sie" (you) and "du" (you) and you will understand.)

Imagine what the fuddy-duddies said when kids first stopped dropping "proper" case declensions of nouns and pronouns. These days people don't have a clue what the difference is between "thee", "thou", "thy", "thine", or how to use them correctly. Even the distinction between "who" and "whom" is being lost. Kids these days don't even know that English once had (is supposed to have?) different forms in the nominative, genitive, accusative and dative cases. English teachers everywhere tore their hair out when those lazy good-for-nothing kids started dropping the proper "-st" endings on conjugated auxiliary verbs like "wouldst" and "canst".

But you know what? That's not "abuse". That's evolution.

There are TWO things about language that NEVER change:

1. The younger generation always makes changes to the language. That's evolution.
2. The older generation calls every such change "abuse of the language" or "laziness", or "sloppiness".

In fact, it's only quite recently (historically speaking) that the science of linguistics has become descriptive rather than prescriptive in recognition of the simple fact that there is no such thing as one timeless and correct way to use English or any other language.
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