Language gatekeepers have singled out some aspects of the many patterns of variation as grounds for action. Their choices — and the reasons given for them — often don't stand up to inspection.
A complex pattern of influences keeps the linguistic pot bubbling. Variation is everywhere. Change never stops. Language gatekeepers cannot control an ever-changing world of diversity. It’s hard on them, because in the gatekeepers' world, variation means error and change means decline.
What’s more, the very notion of a single standard of correctness in language is quite recent. “Correctness” is based solely on a purist’s own notion of what is socially or culturally correct: if it's not in, it must be out. A language purist works from a list of exceptions to the rule, ordinary speakers follow a hierarchy of patterns that reveal analogical similarities.
Do You Speak American . What Speech Do We Like Best? . Correct American . Gatekeeping | PBS