Acronyms Idioms And Slang The Evolution Of

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Acronyms, Idioms, And Slang- The Evolution Of The English Lan Essay, Research Paper Acronyms, Idioms and Slang: the Evolution of the English Language. Although the English language is only 1500 years old, it has evolved at an incredible rate: so much so, that, at first glance, the average person in America today would find most Shakespearean literature confusing without the aid of an Old-English dictionary or Cliff’s Notes. Yet Shakespear lived just 300 years ago! Some are seeing this is a sign of the decline of the English language, that people are becoming less and less literate. As R. Walker writes in his essay “Why English Needs Protecting,” “the moral and economic decline of Great Britain in the post-war era has been mirrored by a decline in the English language

and literature.” I, however, disagree. It seems to me that the point of language is to communicate ? to express some idea or exchange some form of information with someone else. In this sense, the English language seems, not necessarily to be improving or decaying, but optimizing ? becoming more efficient. It has been both said and observed that the technological evolution of a society tends to grow exponentially rather than linearly. The same can also be said of the English language. English is evolving on two levels: culturally and technologically. And both of these are unavoidable. Perhaps the more noticeable of the two today is the technological evolution of English. When the current scope of a given language is insufficient to describe a new concept, invention, or

property, then there becomes a necessity to alter, combine, or create words to provide a needed definition. For example, the field of Astro-Physics has provided the English language with such new terms as pulsar, quasar, quark, black hole, photon, neutrino, positron etc. Similarly, our society has recently be inundated with a myriad of new terms from the field of Computer Science: motherboard, hard drive, Internet, megabyte, CD, IDE, SCSI, TCP/IP, WWW, HTTP, DMA, GUI and literally hundreds of others acronyms this particular field is notorious for. While some of these terms, such as black hole and hard drive, are just a combination of pre-existing words, many of them are new words altogether. To me it seems clear that anything that serves to increase the academic vocabulary of a

society should be welcomed, although not all would agree. For example, many have accused this trend of creating an acronym for everything to be impersonal and confusing. And, while I agree that there is really no need to abbreviate Kentucky Fried Chicken, it does become tiring to have to constantly say Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) when they are both used so frequently when dealing with computers on a network. Not only is it futile for one to reject these inevitably new additions to our language, one would do oneself well to actually learn them. The cultural evolution of English is not as distinguishable, nor seemingly as necessary, as the technological evolution of English, yet it exists nonetheless. It is on this

level that the English language has primarily been accused of being in a state of decline, specifically by the incorporation of “slang” into mainstream language. But Webster’s Dictionary defines slang as: 1: language peculiar to a particular group: as a: ARGOT b: JARGON 2: an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech. In this sense, much of what is commonly thought to be proper English can be said to be slang. When the U.S. declared its independence from England, one of the things scholars did was change the spelling of certain English words: colour was changed to color, theatre to theater, etc. In addition, Americans have, over time, given new names for certain things: