Deterioration of the English Language

Word Count: 1,237 Denise Moreno Professor Carlene Coury English 120 13 April 2013 Deterioration of the English Language The English language seems to be deteriorating more and more each day. So many examples can be given to justify this observation. Three different writers have pointed out some examples of the butchering of the language. Martha Brokenbrough states that the constant use of instant messaging jargon and internetism can certainly be a good way to reshape the way we communicate. At the same time she writes it can also affect the way we communicate properly and professionally.
Author, George Orwell, speaks about how we have developed words in the English language to disguise the true meaning for political causes. Orwell points out that we mask what we truly want to say, and at the same time, we confuse the reader by not making sense of what we write. Speechwriter, Clark Whelton, pointed out that vagueness is a growing problem in our mother language; therefore, college students don’t know how to stop being vague while trying to communicate. Even though all three writers make different points about English decaying as a language, they all concur in the cause of this problem, laziness.
Martha Brokenbrough states “So the key with Internetisms is to know when it’s okay to use them, when it’s not okay, and when not using them will make you look clueless” (149). Brokenbrough emphasizes that using instant messaging lingo is not bad, and it is appropriate in specific time and places, however, not knowing where and when to use this lingo, can cause confusion and make you look foolish. LOL is a very common phrase to hear nowadays, but when one goes to a job interview and can’t carry a conversation without using any of these abbreviations, it is not only unacceptable but disrespectful.

The shortcuts we use may be making us look lazy and dumb when used at a courtroom or a doctor’s office as examples. LMAO seems impolite and childish when used at these places. This type of jargon is, however, necessary when texting and chatting in the world today to be considered hip and normal. One thing that is important to remember is to know when to use the instant messaging lingo and when to not use it as the author claims. More importantly, she explains that it does not take that much longer to use the correct words when needed so that others do not think one is dumb.
Knowing when to use all these internetisms can save us embarrassment and make us seem cool if used correctly. “Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it”(446). In this quote, George Orwell states that it is not that we don’t know how to properly communicate our ideas, but we choose to do nothing about it to correct it. There are a lot of useless words that political writers tend to use when wanting to be unclear but with the intention of making writings seem as clear as water.
Orwell mentions some types of these unnecessary words: dying metaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious diction, and meaningless words. Dying metaphors “are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves”(448). The author is explaining that sometimes in writing there are a lot of recycled expressions that we all use generally as opposed to looking for our own and being original. What verbal false limbs do is that they “save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry”(449).
This quote is referring to the words we tend to use as fillers and again are meaningless to use in a sentence. Verbal false limbs are words that the writer can do without in order to make sense. Pretentious diction are words that are “used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments”(449). Words like “phenomenon” and “effective” get used to pursue the writer to believe the biased thoughts you may want to get across.
Finally, meaningless words are “strictly meaningless in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader”(450). Using these kind of words is only good to persuade the reader into believing things that aren’t meant by the writer. All of these words are examples of bad choices while writing and once again an example of laziness. Orwell emphasizes that writers make the mistake of using all these words to express themselves, but in reality they just end up not being able to communicate what it was they really wanted to say. Playbacks and self-quoting (He was like, “Where are you going? ” and I was like, “I’m going to work”) are the most durable symptoms of vagueness, and may find permanent homes in 21st century English”(Whelton, par. 14). This particular quote by the speech writer, Clark Whelton, highlights the most common way English has become vague. “Whoa, that is so wow” “well, like yeah” and “I mean like, you know” are examples of vague talking and the loss of proper English. Whelton points out that younger people, even having graduated from college, lack a sense of professionalism and good communicative verbal skills.
He states that it is so common to hear people express themselves with “self-quoting, playbacks of past conversations, ‘up talking’ (ending declarative sentences with an interrogative rise), and run-on sentences”(Whelton, par. 2). The examples given are comparable with ways a child would communicate. After using these bad habits of communication over and over again, there is no doubt that knowing how to properly carry on a conversation disappears off the permanent memory. The author implies that if the problem of vagueness had been corrected at an early age, vagueness itself would have been a lot more contained than it is now.
Along with Brockenbrough and Orwell, Whelton has insinuated that writers today have lack of thought for themselves, also known as laziness. Using abbreviations related to instant messaging, words that have no exact meaning or used as fillers, or simple vagueness such as “like”, is wrong when wanting to communicate in formal or professional way. Not only would using these types of shortcuts make one look dumb but also lazy. Possessing the correct skills to communicate verbally or in written form is as important as knowing how to match a clothes outfit.
One is under the belief that using internetisms is going to save time, but unfortunately, that is only a myth. The truth is using shortcuts saves only seconds that can make the difference in appearing dumb, lazy, or intelligent. To sound distinguished by using exotic or meaningless words, one might use as padding for our confusing writing, can cause one to appear dumb and lazy as well. Being vague does not help anyone in trying to clearly communicate what they truly want to say; it only makes people look childish and sluggish.
All in all, the three writers agree that no one should opt for easy time saving abbreviations, fake fancy words, or vagueness that plagues us, to communicate properly and not be thought of being a dumb, lazy, childish person. Works Cited Brockenbrough, Martha. “Does IM make U Dum? ”. The Conscious Reader 12th ed. Longman2012. 148-151 Print. Orwell, George. “Politics and the English Language”. The Conscious Reader 12th ed. Longman2012. 445-457 Print. Whelton, Clark. “Vague-Talking and the Loss of English. ” MINDING THE CAMPUS, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 25 March 2013.

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