‘What language is an always adapting and changing,

 

‘What
seems to be happening is that those people who were once colonized by the
language are now rapidly remaking it, domesticating it, becoming more and more
relaxed about the way they use it – assisted by the English language’s enormous
exibility and size, they are carving out large territories for themselves
within its frontiers.’ (Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands (Granta
Books 1992))

The
English language is an always adapting and changing, there are many parts of
the English language that are derived from many other languages, not to my
surprise many people don’t seem to know how far the English language has been
changed by other cultures I am one of those people, but after reading about
this topic I was instantly intrigued. So why has the English language changed,
and how much has it changed.

For
us to fully understand the extent of how much the English language has adapted
we need to know it history, what happened in the far past and even in recent
years for this to happen, let’s go back to 18th and 19th
century Europe , in English speaking countries they would teach German and
French as secondary languages, what happens is that many children will then
start to incorporate some of the new words that they learnt into their
speaking, that is in part why even today when people hear new words it is
mostly from the younger generation.

English
would not have changed as much as it has if only European cultures impacted it,
English spread rapidly around the 18th century and that is due to a
few factors, the biggest of them being the power of the British empire, one
example is the united states, the British colonized the US and brought people
and they settled there, because of that the people who were originally living
there had to become part of their culture and adapt to it, slaves were also
brought into the united states which most definitely had lasting effects on the
language.

There
are many other countries which have adapted the English language due to the English
colonization of the land such as Australia, it was discovered in
1770 by a captain James hook he was a British captain, when they discovered the
land it was used as a prison the reason being that prisons back in England were
over crowded. About 120 years later in 1900 it had about 4 million inhabitants
from the British Isles, English was the official language used over there and
vocabulary has been affected there, which is the reason why people in Australia
have different accents then people in the united kingdoms.

Another key factor is standardization. Standardization is
defined as the process of implementing and developing technical standards based
on the consensus of different parties, around 1650 this happened to all
European countries and their colonies and their colonies, there were many
things going on at that time such as increased use of the language, faster
communication and a bunch of other factors which led the to make the decision
to create a single standard version of their language which was to be imposed
on its many dialects and spread by education. Around 1755 an English man Samuel
Johnson made a dictionary to their new unified English which defiantly pushed
it on its way.

 

You now know why the English language has changed in the
past but how much has it changed and has it been changing recently? As I
mentioned previously English has been changing for many centuries, there are a
few big reasons that English has changed. First of all, and probably the
biggest factor(influence), the English language has been influenced so much
throughout the years from other cultures that the majority of people can’t tell
what is originally English and what is not, for example the words restaurant,
genre and entrepreneur are all pf French origin but became commonly used words
when French was taught as a second language in English speaking countries
around the 17th century. There are many more examples like
kindergarten(German), chocolate (native American) paparazzi(Italian).

English has not been only changed in the far past it is
still changing up till today. Some of the most recent developments has been
very slow and unrecognizable, when you think about it you don’t feel or think
that English has changed a lot in the last say 50 years, but it didn’t change
then we wouldn’t have the words to refer to televisions, fax machines, phone
etc. as long as the need for language users continue to change, so will the
future.

One of the biggest ways that English has changed over the
last couple of years and one that will keep English changing is the internet.
In today’s world, we are all connected through the internet, that means that
technological advancements affect our daily lives, because of that the English
language has to keep up to date, because of changing concepts and ideas we have
seen many new words such as connectivity, online, Wi-Fi, web, wireless and many
more.

We have also changed the ways we communicate. Because of
different devices (tablets, smartphones) we use abbreviations or “slang” some
of the word commonly used by in this are BRB which means be right back or LOL
(laugh out loud) and many other words. This causes problems because many people
won’t use correct grammar in talking online and that most probably will cause a
decline in grammar standards.

The majority of people do think that English changing was
the cause of the factors that I have mentioned above, but there are a few
people that have different ideas of what really happened. “Some linguists
think of language as a living thing: It grows and changes, and every time a
child learns it, the language reproduces itself”. A team of researchers is
using the idea of evolution to explain language change, they argue that factors
in biological evolution are some of the reasons that language has changed.

For example, scientist Joshua Plotkin. He was bewildered by
peculiarities, for example, a developing preference for the word “clarity” he
was not satisfied by the general idea of how English was changed so he tried to
tie it to evolutionary biology, he found that selection was most probably the
reason of how sentence structures changed over time (like how the Old English
“Ic ne secge” became the Early Modern English “I say not”). two other
changes were probably the results of random drift.

“If you
stay in the mind-set of 15th-century Europe, the future of Latin is extremely
bright,” said Nicholas Ostler, the author of a language history called
“Empires of the Word” who is writing a history of Latin. “If you
stay in the mind-set of the 20th-century world, the future of English is
extremely bright.”

We have now
discussed the past and the present of the English language but what about the
future, there are many things that we can say are going to happened in the
future, because English has to change always now a day because of the rapid
development of technology, on the pace that English is changing now many people
believe that it will continue on the same way and that it will keep developing
and growing, however many people have come out with another view on the matter.

English without
a doubt had dominated the world more than any language, and now some experts
believe that it might lose its power or in a sense dethroned from being the
king of the languages. Many people with this thought believe that English will
just die out as a language as did Latin or Sanskrit or Phoenician or Sogdian
before it. John mcwhorter a linguist at the Manhattan institute has said
“English is dominant in a way that no language has ever been before,”
he said. “It is vastly unclear to me what actual mechanism could uproot
English given conditions as they are.” David crystal the author of English
as a global language has also said “This is the first time we actually have a
language spoken genuinely globally by every country in the world,” he
said. “There are no precedents to help us see what will happen.”

It
is clear that the general idea is that English is that the English language has
taken over the world in a way that has never happened before, which makes it
almost impossible for anyone to predict what will happen, will it slowly die
out, will it keep growing until everyone can understand and speak English or
will people suddenly stop using it, let’s see.

I
have already mentioned a few theories to you before but they were all very
vague in their words and what they exactly think is going to happen, that is
most likely because they are not 100% sure too, but there are people who do
think they can predict the future of the English language. Some linguist
believe that English is breaking down or fragmenting into different languages,
what that means is that they believe that there will be more than one type of
English, like how Latin became Italian, French and Spanish, this is a very
plausible theory as it is already clear in some countries that the way they
speak English is very different to other countries, like America, England and
Australia.

The
last one and the one that I find the most interesting is the shorter language
theory. With people using texting for communication a lot these days, people
use different methods to make it easier to communicate, like abbreviations and
emoji. That has got many linguist wondering to what extent will people use
these types of communication, some people believe that people will cease to
even communicate in the future but I believe that is a bit farfetched, the more
plausible idea is that the using of the emoji and abbreviation of words will
slowly become the normal type of communication, and that will lead us to use
less words which will lead to a shorter vocabulary in most people hence the
name (shorter language theory)

As
you can see there are many ways to think of the future of English, the truth is
that you can never really know what will happen many people can come close or
even get it right, but you will never know until it happens.

We
have now talked about the past present and future of the English language I
found it to be a very interesting topic and I have learnt so much about the it
researching it, I hope that you find it as interesting as I did.

“the English
language no longer “belongs” to its native speakers but to the world,
it is an international language that is no longer associated with its origins
in Britain.” In conclusion, I do believe that the English language is the
biggest and one of the most influential languages in the world and that the
spread of the English language has changed the world in a way that everyone
should be grateful for.