Monday, 7 December 2015

Changes in English - Essay

*Originally posted on the FMK blog on the 13th of February, 2015.

Hi everyone

This year is turning out to be a very busy but manageable time of my life so far. I love to wright about my passion - the Martial Arts. I'm very short for time at the moment. Despite this however, I found an essay that I wrote in semester 2 last year (2014 - Year 11) in my English Language class (A class were the focus of study is what makes English the language that it is). I originally hand wrote this essay; as I must do with all of my essays for school, in about 70 minutes under standard testing conditions. However, I fell short of the 700 word limit. As a result, I had to re-wright it. Fortunately my teacher at the time let me re-wright it in Pages, making it much easer for me to obtain the 700 word limit.

So I had this essay just sitting in a Pages document for months, and eventually decided to share it with everyone on the blog. I know that it's a bit of a different topic to post on this blog, but I can see similarities in the attitudes towards changes in English and the attitudes in the Martial Arts community; such as traditional prescritavists, prescribing to you haw the Martial Arts should be in accordance to a crystallised system. And descriptivists, describing to you what the Martial Arts is like in reality. A presciptivist prescribes what I like to call perceived reality. A descriptivist describes what he/she sees is the reality without bias. People who express the Tao are, in my current opinion, descriptivists. Any topic will have presciptavists and descriptivists, including language and the Martial Arts. Basically it's good to get your head around this idea: prescriptivists prescribe rules and regulations of a subject, whilst descriptivists describe their unbiased philosia of the true essence of the subject. I hope you can take some knowledge away from this essay. Enjoy...

Start of Essay

Topic of discussion: "Our language is constantly changing and evolving, and we should embrace this fact, not resist it. Discuss."

Language is a fascinating phenomenon that reflects the changes in the social attitudes of society. It's very interesting to see the changes in the English Lexicon take place and to witness linguistic and lexicological evolution. Some believe that the change should be embraced, whilst others are more inclined to argue that language should be preserved in it's current state. And thus the debate about these conflicting views has arisen.

Those who support the view of officialising language and preserving it are known as prescriptivists. A prescriptivist would most likely disapprove of the current changes in English taking place. For example, young speakers of English commonly recognise words such as Pokemon to be an official lexeme, despite it having no occupation in the dictionary. Pokemon Is a blended neologism (consisting of Pocket and Monsters) that refers to popular electronic games greatly enjoyed by young people. The majority of today's young people would most likely be able to define the term 'Pokemon'. However, as it is not in the dictionary, the absence of codification means to a prescriptivist that it most surely Is a threat to a "pure English".

A prescriptivist believes that the English language , in order to evolve effectively as a strong and healthy lexicon, should be practiced by it's by it's everyday users by the book. They may see it as a beautiful crystallisation that must be protected from external and internal linguistic and lexicological viruses, in order for future generations to enjoy English.

Those who occupy the opposite end of this spectrum of language ideology are commonly known as descriptivists. While a prescriptivist tells people how language should be, a descriptivist would most likely tell someone how language is currently being spoken and how it is currently being produced by it's day to day users. There are dynamic changes occurring in English via the influential presents of, and interaction with technology. New acronyms such as LOL (laugh out loud) are widely used on social media. New verb shifts such as using the work "read" out of its traditionally codified context have occurred. In this particular example, "read" is changed from a verb to a noun, as in "that was a good read". Phenomenons such as these have been turning English into a linguistic melting pot. A descriptivist would most likely support this, because it effectively is serving it's purpose of communicating messages effectively for those who are to inherit the English language. A prescriptivist would criticise the use of a colon and an inverted bracket to produce :), as it  would be having a disastrous impact on young people's use of English's grammatical tools. After all, a hammer is used for fixing nails into position, not to cut wood. A bracket is used to contain additional information in a text such as listing examples that relate to the topic.

A descriptivist will claim that using :), :(, or ;-) for example, adds fascinating, creative and exiting new dimensions into the realms of non-verbal communication. "Technology is not having a disastrous impact on teenagers spelling and grammar, according to recent studies in Australia and the UK. Linguists have found that the vast majority of text messages utilise Standard English, not unintelligible 'textspeek'. In fact, new technologies may even be having a positive influence on the English Language.' -Oz News Magazine on the 12th of October 2010. Having technologies readily available to young people gives students more reasons to wright, and more opportunities. Having an automatic spell-check system set up on software such as 'Pages', can greatly enhance ones spelling ability. Constantly having one's spelling errors automatically highlight and correct themselves is essentially giving the student a complete lesson of his or her weaknesses, thus without knowing it, the student learns not to make the error in the first place through repeated correctional exposure. Sending messages to peers and teachers via email has become a necessity for a student of the 21st century. Less formal social situations can also give reasons to message people such as family and friends.

If something is confound to a cage then how can it be expected to evolve?. The speakers of English should have their lexicological and linguistic freedom in order for the this diverse language of ours to effectively evolve.

End of Essay

Mark obtained: C

Thank you for reading my essay. Please do share your thoughts on this topic. I'd love to know your opinion.

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