“Is language devolving?” is an extremely vague, yet pressing question that we must ask ourselves in this modern day of television, iPhones, and continuous entertainment whether in the political or social sphere. Simply, yes, language is devolving, at an extremely fast rate due to our continuous strive for efficiency, either socially or through persuasion by politicians. There are many examples of this in many parts of literature such as George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”. In this article, he explains how it’s became so much easier to simply be vague and not concrete when using language to persuade. Much of this is used in politics where it is understood that it is easier to use words of high diction and value to persuade and, quite frankly, confuse than to be simple and speak in laymen's terms; today a much more difficult process. An example of this lack of concreteness is seen in Orwell’s article, where he analyzes a very “fluffed up” political quote and then further explains: “...no one capable of using phrases like ‘objective considerations of contemporary phenomena --- would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness” (Orwell 8). Imagining a spectrum of language and it’s uses socially, politically, economically, etc. is a helpful visual to explain the various types of language and is fall. There are many different ways that each context language is used in is moving towards efficiency, a key factor in the devolving of our language.
Moving away from Orwell’s article, another way language is devolving is in a social sense. In the modern social world, just like in the political world, everything is expected to be done as fast as possible. For example, in schools we are expected to write in shorthand to take down notes in the most productive and speedy way possible, affecting the way we talk, whether we accept it or not. Another way is through technology. Texting is a massive factor is the degradation of our language, with terms such as “LOL!!!!!!!” and “OMG BROOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” becoming prevalent in even conversations today. Although mostly teens use this type of language in face-to-face conversation, these habits will carry on to adulthood and be passed down throughout generations; a vicious cycle of the continuous downfall of our once formal yet understandable language. Television and news is expected to be as simple and straight-forward as possible, written as short and sweet as physically possible so the modern day watcher/reader can move on to their next article with ease. Overall, language is devolving and rapidly and is most prevalent in politics and our daily social lives. But, a few questions remain. Can we control this destructive pattern? Of course. Will we? Most likely not.
- Jake Nusynowitz N U S Y N O W I T Z!!!!