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I mean how far should we flow on with the current called "common usage"?

Is there a fear that the real English is going do disappear someday?

By the way, as for me, I like common English myself. :)

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I can’t say I’m a big fan of this question. But I’m curious to see if anyone takes the bait and presents an apologia for “real” English, and then to see what kind of votes that answer would receive. –  nohat Sep 8 '10 at 22:47
    
@nohat: your comment, and in fact your very presence, will have an impact on the results of this little experiment. –  RegDwigнt Sep 8 '10 at 23:10
    
@RegDwight Exactly. I’m trying to exert an influence using soft power. –  nohat Sep 8 '10 at 23:39
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I'm thinking of Received Pronunciation and a study done on the Queen's Christmas addresses over the years, and how she (and presumably God, too) have stooped to vulgarity. Seems appropriate here, anyone know of it? Can't find it. –  Charlie Sep 9 '10 at 1:58
    
Vote to close as subjective, contentious, and generally impertinent. –  moioci Sep 9 '10 at 13:40

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I personally feel that the idea of a "real" version of any active language is unrealistic. Language evolves in order to meet the needs of communication, and that landscape is always changing. In the days of Old English, we didn't have laptops, rockets, cars, and mp3 players. The language had to change to include words describing those things. Likewise, people are constantly finding new ways to describe more intangible things like emotions, colors, and even philosophical concepts.

An inactive language like Latin can certainly have a solid definition, since it is no longer evolving. I would suggest that any language currently in use can not have a "real" version. It can only have a particular lexicon at a particular point in time.

I would add that it is normal, and desirable, for a language to resist change to some degree. If a language changed from one day to the next, for example, it would be very difficult to communicate in that language. I'm sure there is a happy medium somewhere in the middle; a language that is flexible enough to change as required, but not so fluid as to be incomprehensible.

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Real English, as it was known 50 years ago, is dead today. And real English, as it was known 100 years ago, was dead 50 years ago. So, in my opinion, to fear the end of real English is like fearing the end of real music.

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But hey, real music is dead. ;-) –  ShreevatsaR Sep 9 '10 at 3:34

I mean how far should we flow on with the current called "common usage"?

Is there a fear that the real English is going do disappear someday?

By the way, as for me, I like common English myself. :)

With the influence of the internet, television, films, and the ability to hear and view the speech of people who lived over a hundred years ago, English is probably changing much less and becoming much more standardized than it ever has been in the past. I can watch films from seventy years ago and understand everything they say. Dialect forms of the language are gradually disappearing all over the place. If anything, the homogenization of the language is a more likely outcome.

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The phenomenon of "Globish" (global English) was discussed on BBC Radio 4's Start The Week in June 2010:

'Globish' has been described as 'the worldwide dialect of the third millennium'. The term was first used to describe a functional English, perfectly adapted as the global language of commerce, technology and education. In his history of this global phenomenon, Robert McCrum argues that while the British Empire is long dead, its language is now extending its influence further and further. But Globish has transcended the legacy of empire and is set to become the lingua franca of globalisation.

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I would hold French up as a counterexample. Despite having a body to safeguard "the true French," they have not been able to bar such barbarisms as le weekend. Language is our friend, not our slave; it helps us out in unexpected ways, but we don't own it, now should we want to.

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