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  1. #11
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Quote Originally Posted by alienvoord View Post
    Is it? As I pointed out in my previous post, the number of "ly" adverbs is actually GREATER now that it has been in the past.

    Maybe you are right but I still believe there are two problems with -ly adverbs:
    1. They interfere with adjectives that end in -ly such as friendly. As Bianca said some adverbs are simply awkward "overly, muchly, thusly". It is also interesting what she said about adverbs: We dress words up by adding -ly to them
    2. -ly adverbs are longer in one syllable. Modern communication tends to be fast and this in turn means shortening. Spoken English is doing it. There is no reason why not adjectives and adverbs share the same form. Time will show. Let's wait.
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 30-Apr-2007 at 19:50.

  2. #12
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    I believe Alain Fluency has already replaced accuracy in speaking and conversationalist messages such as emails. Accuracy will still be important in written communication particularly in a business context although companies have found out that some of its employees in spite of their accuracy problems are in fact more successful in communication. This means accuracy doesn’t really guarantee successful communication and a job. In addition what is the point in writing in perfect English if the message doesn’t get across.

    The fact that English is global changes a lot. Not everybody can master grammar or vocabulary. Mixing BE with AmE is now acceptable. In fact we can speak only of global English with no native speakers. People speak English everywhere. This won’t go without changes. True language follows economic principles. This means there are no 100% synonyms. There is always some difference of some kind

    Since vocabulary is becoming more complex grammar and in particular tenses will experience changes. I don’t know much about French but I believe passeī simple might go earlier than imparfait. Our job Alain is nothing but to watch and describe, not prescribe. The French fines imposed on people using English words won’t work. Academie Francais hasn’t worked either. Language is not only economic in principle but also democratic. German past tenses have nearly died to make way for present perfect. German genitive is suffering too and will be replaced by dative..

  3. #13
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Thanks Bianca I can't agree more. I also like the way you express your awareness of these changes. If I may add some people even read in chunks and speed reading (although I hate it) has become part of our hasty life). Long words like representative and fridge have made way to rep and fridge.. Does that mean mutli-syllabic words of mainly Romance origin cannot survive long either because of their length or their high degree of formality. My observation is the degree of formality is weakening. To sum up I would like to say two changes are unavoidable in relation to:
    1. Length of words
    2. Degree of formality
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 30-Apr-2007 at 20:03.

  4. #14
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    What do you mean by "high degree of formality"? Do you mean that formal English words are losing ground?

  5. #15
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Dear Ibrahim,
    I didn't mean prescription when I mentioned 'to stand against' There has always been two attitudes as far as thinkers are concerned : contemplation ( description of how the world goes on without being involved ) versus action and partake in movements. There are other ways of standing against : Language is endowed with a poetic dimension which transcends the mere principle of communication. I'm afraid this part of language might progressively be abandoned . The strong urge to communicate in the quickest way for the sake of efficiency has dramatically altered English .The latter is often taught in its commercial forms . Generally speaking,this choice gives off more or less unexpected effects:
    If a language is not spoken or barely heard or is grammatically costly ( many -LY) it is doomed to die. It's no use fighting this historical-sociologic trend , I agree and yet ...
    Won't it be soon regarded as pointless the teaching of Academic structures ?
    Many a time I was told by pupils'parents that I should'nt waste time on teaching literature or work on passť simple.
    Language is also a part of everyone's history and the silences that lie and lenghten between words matter. There is an overall movement and the point is not to judge but to describe so as to understand. However , every one of us should ask herself(himself) what consequences Language might suffer.
    Alain

  6. #16
    CHOMAT is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Quote Originally Posted by CHOMAT View Post
    Dear Ibrahim,
    I didn't mean prescription when I mentioned 'to stand against' There have always been two attitudes as far as thinkers are concerned : contemplation ( description of how the world goes on without being involved ) versus action and partake in movements. There are other ways of standing against : Language is endowed with a poetic dimension which transcends the mere principle of communication. I'm afraid this part of language might progressively be abandoned . The strong urge to communicate in the quickest way for the sake of efficiency has dramatically altered English .The latter is often taught in its commercial forms . Generally speaking,this choice gives off more or less unexpected effects:
    If a language is not spoken or barely heard or is grammatically costly ( many -LY) it is doomed to die. It's no use fighting this historical-sociologic trend , I agree and yet ...
    Won't it be soon regarded as pointless the teaching of Academic structures ?
    Many a time I was told by pupils'parents that I should'nt waste time on teaching literature or work on passť simple.
    Language is also a part of everyone's history and the silences that lie and lenghten between words matter. There is an overall movement and the point is not to judge but to describe so as to understand. However , every one of us should ask herself(himself) what consequences Language might suffer.
    Alain
    oups

  7. #17
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    If the poetic dimension in language, as you called it, will succumb so as to make room for a rapid exchange of words and fast communication, we're pretty much doomed. People take so much comfort in symbols, metaphors, colourful adjectives and so on. It is a language's own sanctuary when meaning in a tough, angry world is too hard to bear. But I don't think this will happen, metaphors actually are themselves shortcuts in communication: by using the metaphor "time is money" you indirectly say, "if you are taking my time, then you need to pay for this." By cutting short on "your love is like a red rose" and saying "your love is big/hot" instead, not only do we upset Lord Byron (just kidding), but we're killing the beauty of passion in communication. We cannot simply prioritize speed of communication and ignore our innermost human needs (since someone talked about language changing in order to fulfill our needs). So I believe that smth will happen to prevent this from happening, and teachers ought to do everything to inspire in their students the love for language with all its mistery and "endowments".
    Last edited by bianca; 01-May-2007 at 23:34.

  8. #18
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Well Alain as long as there are needs language will go on statisfying those needs. Of course our needs will change due to modern life styles. I think literature will stay a s a basic need so I don't think it will be a waste of time. As far as passť simple is concerned maybe our need to use different past tenses will cease to make way for passť composť. You are right language is more than just a tool for communication because it is so central or existential. Not only culture but maybe no thinking is possible without it at all. It is fascinating to make some predictions about the most basic tool ever.
    All the best
    Jamshid
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 30-Apr-2007 at 22:51.

  9. #19
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Quote Originally Posted by bianca View Post
    What do you mean by "high degree of formality"? Do you mean that formal English words are losing ground?
    Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Communication is becoming less formal. Maybe complimentary closes like: yours truly, faithfully and sincerely will be replaced by Best regards soon completely. Email layout and language for example is taken from the memo (internal communication) which is less formal than external communication.

  10. #20
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Changes underway in English

    Chomat wrote:

    "Language is endowed with a poetic dimension which transcends the mere principle of communication. I'm afraid this part of the language will progressively be abandoned."

    "Won't it be soon regarded as pointless the teaching of Academic structures ?
    Many a time I was told by pupils'parents that I should'nt waste time on teaching literature or work on passť simple".

    If you believe me, I hear the same comments from my students or their parents. Their writings are often riddled with grammar mistakes, abreviations and spelling errors, although if they took their time and focused on their assignments, most of these could be avoided. "Literature takes too long time to analyze, mistakes are nothing as long as they got their message across".
    One thing they don't understand is that school is not so much for getting grades fast and moving on with our lives, as it is for our development as human beings.
    Analyzing literature is a way for all of us to come to terms with our own emotions. Many people cannot grasp the meaning of more complex texts (those written by Coetzee, for ex.), which deal with life, identity and so on in so many shapes and aspects. "The Odyssey" - the movie, or the poem itself- harbours so many themes, which focus on our human condition. By only reading it once, or maybe seeing the movie once, you possibly discover one or two dimensions in this classic, but there is so much more to explore. Not to mention that they help you develop your ability to develop your point of view on an issue, skill that will last you a lifetime. However, by skimming fast through this piece of literature we're missing out on a lot, since exploring them is like healing for mind and soul. They make you more mature and ready to confront life. But, since you're in a hurry living your life, you'll probably not miss the train, but the beauty of the landscape right outside your window...
    Academic writing, on the other hand, teaches not only formal words and writing conventions, but also the fact that language can be molded into different shapes and forms according to your target audience. Just like in real life: one way you address a pal, another way your principal. I use to tell my students that, unless they are teachers, few people out there will be interested in what you think about, say, Jane Austin. What they will be interested in (and I'm talking about a potential employer, and not only) is your ability to think, to talk and to write. In the academical world, language is power. You may have a good point, but the way you carry yourself, in terms of clarity and accuracy of the language, you either win or lose. As for the hasty world we're living in, academic writing is already bashing unnecessary shortenings of words as it is. On the other hand, it hates padding, and is straightforward, clear and to the point. In other words, it already strives for a great deal of substance in as few words as possible. And it is here to stay, as long as there is economic competition and social hierarchies in the world. But who knows what it will look like a hundred years from now.
    Last edited by bianca; 01-May-2007 at 23:43.

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