Acronyms, Idioms, And Slang, The Evolution Of The English Language.

1112 words - 4 pages

Although the English language is only 1500 years old, it has evolvedat an incredible rate: so much so, that, at first glance, the average personin America today would find most Shakespearean literature confusing withoutthe aid of an Old-English dictionary or Cliff's Notes. Yet Shakespear livedjust 300 years ago! Some are seeing this is a sign of the decline of theEnglish language, that people are becoming less and less literate. As R.Walker writes in his essay 'Why English Needs Protecting,' 'the moral andeconomic decline of Great Britain in the post-war era has been mirrored bya decline in the English language and literature.' I, however, disagree. Itseems to me that the point of language is to communicate -- to express someidea 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 evolutionof a society tends to grow exponentially rather than linearly. The same canalso be said of the English language. English is evolving on two levels:culturally and technologically. And both of these are unavoidable. Perhapsthe more noticeable of the two today is the technological evolution ofEnglish. When the current scope of a given language is insufficient todescribe a new concept, invention, or property, then there becomes anecessity to alter, combine, or create words to provide a needed definition.For example, the field of Astro-Physics has provided the English languagewith such new terms as pulsar, quasar, quark, black hole, photon, neutrino,positron etc. Similarly, our society has recently be inundated with amyriad of new terms from the field of Computer Science: motherboard, harddrive, Internet, megabyte, CD, IDE, SCSI, TCP/IP, WWW, HTTP, DMA, GUI andliterally hundreds of others acronyms this particular field is notoriousfor. While some of these terms, such as black hole and hard drive, are justa combination of pre-existing words, many of them are new words altogether.To me it seems clear that anything that serves to increase the academicvocabulary of a society should be welcomed, although not all would agree.For example, many have accused this trend of creating an acronym foreverything to be impersonal and confusing. And, while I agree that there isreally no need to abbreviate Kentucky Fried Chicken, it does become tiringto have to constantly say Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or TransferControl Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) when they are both used sofrequently when dealing with computers on a network. Not only is it futilefor one to reject these inevitably new additions to our language, one woulddo oneself well to actually learn them.The cultural evolution of English is not as distinguishable, norseemingly as necessary, as the technological evolution of English, yet itexists nonetheless. It is on this level that the English language hasprimarily been accused...

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