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View Full Version : The devaluation of the English (or American) language



Aran
08-31-2001, 05:23 PM
it seems as if english is mutating into a more basic and easy to use language through a complete lack of grammar and thought by its speakers most of the time.

what do you thing is the future of our prized language?

doubleanti
08-31-2001, 07:26 PM
congratulations, we have a winner for the most ironic post in the universe...


what do you thing is the future of our prized language?

quoth doubleanti... :p

what's wrong with slang? point being that we are fluent in english and typing shift all the time hurts our pinky fingers... hehe... nonetheless, it's not like we don't know that others wouldn't know what we were talking about anyway... least i'd have that confidence when i type [there are some of us who don't seem to follow this... hehe...]

so, if anyone finds my mod-induced typing non-stance annoying, please annoy me about it... :)

Barjor
08-31-2001, 07:30 PM
I would think that a big part of that is that alot of people on the internet , chat rooms , message boards are not speaking english as a first languish. Me for example are from Sweden I have seen posts that is from Danish , Germans Norviegen..etc. I am currently living in US and compared to my nativ swedish I think this languish is very flat and poor on words. Now my spelling and grammer s*** even in Swedish and it isn't better in English. And for this board I don't think people really care that much about the Eng grammar but more about the C languish grammar.

Aran
08-31-2001, 09:25 PM
there you have it...english sucks! :D

Koshare
08-31-2001, 11:50 PM
I type extremly fast, I dont spell right even though I can spell right. I generally use words that fit the situation instead of dope, awesome, gay ,etc. The english language isnt getting degenerated (is devaluation even a word?) you are just getting older . The american language is very similar to all other forms of english and pretty much the exact same as canadian except with out all the "eh" in it.

Aran
09-01-2001, 09:36 AM
hey kosh, i remember you from the old board, hehe.

Anyhow, devaluation is synonymous with degradation or disintigration. It is a word. I actually found it while i was reading the Wall Street Journal for no appearant reason..... it was talking about the devaluation of certain internet based companies.

Procyon
09-01-2001, 02:28 PM
Devaluation refers to reducing the value of something (i.e. Mexico devaluing the Peso or a company devaluing its stock price). It isn't really a synonym of disintegration.

I don't particularly think the language is decaying or simplifying, just changing. Words come and go and change definition all the time; that's why we have so many languages in the first place.

Esss
09-01-2001, 05:26 PM
Languages evolve; the English of today is different from the English of 1800, and the American even more so.

In this case, however, the language is changing for pure laziness. When printing was invented, it was far faster to typeset a letter 'U' than the word 'you', yet the word did not shorten until the 20th century. People now can type faster and send more data than ever before; spelling and grammar checkers abound. The lack of barriers gives a huge, multilingual and multicultural society. Yet spelling and grammar have degraded, and the result is a language all but unintelligible. The reasons why have been dissected time and time again, but between SMS and e-mail, the language - or at least, people's grasp of it - is regressing.

For an example of this, one need look no further than the 'smilies' box to the left of the one in which I type. Why should we need to draw faces in our statements, unless we have lost the ability to express it in words? 'Evolution' implies improvement to suit changing conditions, yet the loss of the beauty and expression of English is no improvement (as Barjor demonstrates). Recast Shakespeare, Byron or even George Washington in 'modern' terminology and see for yourself if you retain the poetry and beauty of the original.

mithrandir
09-01-2001, 05:42 PM
/* Yes this will actually compile */

#include <stdio.h>

void ReadOn(void);
void DontBother(void);

int main(void)
{

int userchoice;

printf("Press 1 to read on, 2 to quit\n");
printf("What would you like to do? ");
scanf("%d", &userchoice);

if (userchoice == 1)
ReadOn();
else
DontBother();

return 0;
}

void ReadOn(void)
{
printf("\nPerhaps we could all just start writing out our posts like this\n"
"then you could grade us on our code style as well as our speech :O\n\n"
"[stealth]\n\n");
}

void DontBother(void)
{
printf("\nYou have quit the program, and not bothered to read my thoughts!\n"
"[stealth]\n\n");
}

rick barclay
09-01-2001, 07:45 PM
If you people think the English language is in decline, maybe
you should for one second tear off your blinders and pick
up a copy of the Times of London or New York and start
reading. Pick up a copy of Playboy and (after browsing the
photos) find and article and start reading. The same goes
for Wired, Time, Dr. Dobbs, and any other successful pub-
lication you can find.

Actually, if you compare the journalism and literature of today
to comparable examples written prior to 1900, you should
find with few exceptions that the writing of today's world is
much more readable than that which came before.

The problem here, as always, lies with those who think they see
in others everything that's wrong with the world when in
actuality what they are seeing is a reflection of their own
shortcomings. And to extend that thought and provide a solution
to those perceived deficiencies I would suggest that anyone
who is worried about the course of the English language
should study and exercise its proper use diligently as an
example for others to follow.

rick barclay

Procyon
09-01-2001, 07:45 PM
Indeed, but do you see smilies, 'u' as a word, and the absence of capitalization in newspapers, or even online articles made by major organizations? Even most posts at this board stick to standard conventions. A minority of users adopts relaxed punctuational and spelling rules for their own convenience. But most other people use the standard practice. Given that a few hundred years ago most members of society were illiterate in even the most advanced countries, the fact that some people today choose not to capitalize in internet correspondence does not indicate to me that the language is deteriorating.

Edit: to clarify, this is in response to Esss. Rick barklay beat me by a few seconds!

Aran
09-01-2001, 08:03 PM
well, you have all made good points on this matter and it appears that i have successfully started a good topic for once that isn't absolutely mindless. I congratulate myself.

To tell you all the truth i enjoy the english language very much as it is. I love playing games with words and having verbal sparring matches with people, although most of the time people aren't verbally advanced enough to throw a good amount of force into and arguement and use some type of oratorial (is this a word?) or debating technique.

Well, then again, this could be because Dune has greatly influenced my views of language. You see, in the Dune books Frank Herbert discribes the nuances and strategies of conversation. It seems as if every conversation that characters in his books have have some type of underlying current of emotion and thought that goes deeper than 80% of the useless jibba-jabba that we throw mindlessly at each other and call 'debating'. Then again, Frank Herbert's Dune takes place in a distant future: who knows how advanced the human mind will be by then?

doubleanti
09-01-2001, 11:37 PM
aran... as Courtier is to relationships (try and parallel it to modern times will ya? i'd read it...), and The Prince is to politics, you should write a book on words, if one hasn't already been written... :p

oh, and speaking of which... how many of you see the abbr. "lol" and say in your head the phonetic "lol" instead of the spelling? weird huh? :p

rick barclay
09-01-2001, 11:42 PM
Guess I'll have to go out and buy me a Frank Herbert book
now, won't I? I bought the bladerunner book after
govt cheez said something about it, but we never discussed it.
Oh well. I had the bladerunner computer game, but the book
didn't help with that. I have the Dune game, too, so the book
probably won't help with that, either. Under $10.00 for a
535-page book--not a bad value, maybe. If I recall correctly,
the movie kind of puked. Oh, well, I'll give it a shot.

rick barclay

Scourfish
09-01-2001, 11:50 PM
Bah! There will always be english majors who correct good an well. Most people just talk in the vernacular, that's all. Americans aren't the only people who do it, though; read the play "pygmalion". that criticized the British commonfold for the way they spoke.

Unless, of course, you're talking about ebonics, which I don't know. I do, however, consider it a language onto itself.

mithrandir
09-02-2001, 01:26 AM
I do, however, consider it a language onto itself.

Shouldn't that be "unto itself"?


I bought the bladerunner book

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by P.K. Dick, or the Blade Runner movie tie-in novel?

Dune is good, but trust me, don't read any of the "Prelude to Dune" novels by his son (they really are awful).

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 01:22 PM
The former, stealth.

I didn't know there was a made-for-the-movie- novel.
Sci-fi books give me big problems as far as credibility goes--
you have to release yourself completely in order to refrain
from throwing the book into the trashcan. At least I do.
The one L. Ron Hubbard book I read (and quickly forgot)
convinced me that sci-fi is generally aimed at retards and
three-year olds. Do Androids Dream did little or nothing
to change my thinking. Stuff like that will just never happen.
So, the questions is, I guess, does anybody out there know of anything sci-fi that would qualify as literature?

rick barclay

Flarelocke
09-02-2001, 05:55 PM
So, the questions is, I guess, does anybody out there know of anything sci-fi that would qualify as literature? Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley(sp?). 1984 by Orwell.

Pretty much anything by Heinlein, come to think of it.

Esss
09-02-2001, 06:07 PM
> does anybody out there know of anything sci-fi that would qualify as literature?

Pratchett? Niven/Pournelle (try Lucifer's Hammer)? Asimov? For that matter, Conan Doyle? What's your definition of 'literature'?

> Stuff like that will just never happen.

A story doesn't have to be possible to be literature; are you saying 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' doesn't qualify?

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by Flarelocke
Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley(sp?). 1984 by Orwell.

Pretty much anything by Heinlein, come to think of it.

I read Brave New World in high school. All I remember is the
ending-the savage guy who was the director's son hanging
himself and rotating about the various points of the compass.

I never thought of BNW as sci-fi--the plot is much too contemporary, really passe (science rules! humanity suffers).
Give me Jules Verne, or Clancy...****! Give me Terminator One
and Two! Now Black River, he does science fiction.

I've heard Asimov is pretty good. Maybe I'll check out Heinlein.
I don't know. I'm not really much into what most people
consider sci-fi. My problem.

rick barclay

Aran
09-02-2001, 07:06 PM
I only like books that i can get mentally involved in. i love books with intricate plots and multiple interweaving storylines that get you so involved that you feel with the characters. That's why i like Frank Herbert (and also because he holds nothing sacred... the biggest weapons in a few of his books are sex-related). FH isn't afraid to tell it as it is.

anyway....... don't talk about 'literature'. i don't care if what you read is 'literature', all that matters is if it is a turn-on to you, and you enjoy reading it. Some stuff that's considered literature is a large load of bullcrap that is pounded into the public as 'good' although it is actually quite contrarily horrendous.

One things for sure: Civilization 3 is going to own the universe when it comes out. I'm going to buy it the second it hits the shelves.

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 07:45 PM
Originally posted by Esss
>
Pratchett? Niven/Pournelle (try Lucifer's Hammer)? Asimov? For that matter, Conan Doyle? What's your definition of 'literature'?

Stuff like that will just never happen.

A story doesn't have to be possible to be literature; are you saying 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' doesn't qualify?

Sherlock Holmes--sci-fi? I don't think so.

I define literature as anything written that makes sense to me,
which doesn't mean I don't consider Hubbard or Huxley or
P.K. Dick literature, because I do. I just don't happen to
appreciate their writing as much as others do.

I did not say a story has to be possible to be literature--that's ridiculous.
I've said before, and I'll say again: a really good writer
will take the real and paint it surreal and vice versa. A good
writer comes off with his credibility intact. To me, Hubbard's
one book that I read (I'm pretty sure now it was Battlefield Earth) was so juvenile in it's presentation
that I just took it as an insult that anyone would write such
garbage and expect people to believe it. That's what I meant
when I said stuff like that will never happen. I've just returned
from Barnes & Noble.com and I'm really amazed at the reviews on
Battlefield Earth--32 weeks #1 on the N.Y. Times bestseller list,
voted best sci-fi novel ever!-of all time! This can't be the same
book! The one where the aliens are are all super invulnerable
unkillable killing machines-except if you shoot them in the eye
with your atomic pistol they'll coveniently drop dead? Are we
talking about the same book, here? I hope not. At the time I read
Battlefield, Hubbard's Dianetics was being advertised all over
tv. That was one reason I picked it up--out of curiosity about
someone who was being hailed as the next great philsopher-
writer for our times. I don't know...Truth once again proves
itself mightier than fiction (to me, at least). But anyway, let me try on Assimov
and a few others mentioned here. I see a lot of members
come here and recommend books for reading that I've never
heard of. They're all good reading, I'm sure. Maybe one of them can tell
me what's so good about L. Ron Hubbard.

rick barclay

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by Aran Elus

One things for sure: Civilization 3 is going to own the universe when it comes out. I'm going to buy it the second it hits the shelves.

You talkin' about a book, here, or the game? There's already
been two sequels to Civ II, and I think one of them was called
Civ III. Happily correct me if I be wrong.

rick barclay

Aran
09-02-2001, 08:06 PM
i'm talking about the game, and Civ III hasn't come out yet, although Civ CtP and ToT have come out and so has Civ CtP 2...

well...... if Civ III has come out, then it must have been undergroound because i've not seen it in any computer stores as of late.

mithrandir
09-02-2001, 08:34 PM
Do Androids Dream did little or nothing
to change my thinking.

I thought the book and Blade Runner raised some interesting issues as far as if a machine thinks, does it have a soul? Perhaps this novel/movie is even more relevent than ever before with the capabilities of cloning that we now posess.

Procyon
09-02-2001, 09:56 PM
Fahrenheit 451 is 'literary' enough to be assigned reading in high schools; I had to read it back then.

According to their website, Civ 3 (http://www.civ3.com) doesn't seem to have a release date yet except Fall 2001.
I intend to seize a copy immediately upon release as well.

Dissata
09-02-2001, 10:00 PM
ignoring all but the first few posts!

the english language has not in any way been degraded! period!
if anything it has only been abused. the same words that were there 100 years ago can still be found and used! just because someone uses the word cool instead of saying it was intriguing, does not in any way mean the word has been corrupted. it is still infallably used and will continue to be used.

some of the english language has become more universal for those who have trouble understanding it, but those same words that you hated in school are still there!

also to note the english language has over 2 times the amount of words that there were in the late 1800's and is expanded upon everyday

the letter U is not a word, it is a letter that people have made an alternate meaning for

If you don't believe me look in a dictionary! literature to read also, C. S. Lewis's book entitled miracles

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by [stealth]


I thought the book and Blade Runner raised some interesting issues as far as if a machine thinks, does it have a soul? Perhaps this novel/movie is even more relevent than ever before with the capabilities of cloning that we now posess.

Clones and androids are two diffrent animals, stealth. I don't
think we'll ever reach the android stage, now that cloning is here.
Why would you need an android? As a weapon? How could
you fit a rocket launcher on an android without killing it in the
process? It would be easier and far simpler just to give the
android the rocket launcher and let him go from there.

The Bladerunner book that I read didn't raise any moral issues
at all that I could see. It was just straight sci-fi. The bounty
hunter did his job with an eye to making money; the androids
avoided capture but met their fate like good je--er androids.
Sometimes I think people read things into novels that aren't
really there.

rick barclay

rick barclay
09-02-2001, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by Procyon
Fahrenheit 451 is 'literary' enough to be assigned reading in high schools; I had to read it back then.

According to their website, Civ 3 (http://www.civ3.com) doesn't seem to have a release date yet except Fall 2001.
I intend to seize a copy immediately upon release as well.

F 451 was a megaseller. I've always regretted not getting around to reading it.

If anybody wants play Civ III over a network, I'm available
any time, any where, cuz I rulz the civ.

rick barclay

mithrandir
09-03-2001, 03:39 AM
Sometimes I think people read things into novels that aren't
really there.

Look outside the box every once in a while rick and you might learn more than what you expected.

The novel doesn't really explore too much into what I was talking about, but the Directors cut of Bladerunner undeniably questions what it means to be human. The film also casts doubt upon the fact that the bounty hunter (Ford) is human, hinting that he could be an android.

My point is: is a clone a human, or just a clone? Is an android programmed in every way to be human, a human?

nvoigt
09-03-2001, 05:42 AM
The topic degraded somewhat from quality of the english
language to science fiction literature, but anyway...

Smilies are used to symbolize emotions you would see if
you would talk to someone. I can use sarcasm, but only
some symbol will prevent my communication partner from
thinking I lost it. S/he can't see my wicked smile that goes
with the remark.
I might not be a prime candidate for talking about the
english language. It's not my native language. I use it
to communicate, and I like to use it, but I will never be
as proficient as with my native language, being it use of
words, vocabulary or sentence structures.
What I really hate to see are those abbreviations. There
is a time for short syllables. If you don't have space
( i.e. SMS ) it's ok. But... y r u talking 2 me like z ?
It makes no sense. It costs me time to decipher it. Time
I could use for other things. It just means the writer is
too lazy or too cool. I don't like lazy people, I don't like
people who are trying to be cool.


Sci-Fi:
Starship Troopers R.A. Heinlein.
If you know the movie, forget everything you saw.
The book is more philosophical. Not so much action.

"...shines the name, shines the name of Roger Young..."

Netforce T. Clancy
In the not-so-far future there is another agency, Netforce,
commited to capturing computer criminals. While VR is
everyday life, Agents are hunting spies and terrorists.
While the stories are Clancy-Standard, the outlook of
the future is quite real. This is a scenario that might take
place in 10 years.

Aran
09-03-2001, 09:17 AM
d00d, l33t suks |\/|a|\|. aight c wot i m[-[-n?

it takes forever to write and makes you look like a complete moron. I count it as a strike against the writer when i see that crap displayed on my monitor.

zen
09-03-2001, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by rick barclay

Clones and androids are two diffrent animals, stealth. I don't
think we'll ever reach the android stage, now that cloning is here.
Why would you need an android?

To do jobs unfit for humans(slaves). Clones could still be classed as humans, therefore it would probably be considered morally wrong to treat clones differently than any other human whereas it may be considered acceptable to use androids for any purpose. Whether this is acceptable and how different androids would be from humans is a major theme in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?/Bladerunner (it's even in the title).

Aran
09-03-2001, 11:32 AM
It's all about bioethics now, and that is something for a completely different topic.

rick barclay
09-03-2001, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by [stealth]


Look outside the box every once in a while rick and you might learn more than what you expected.

The novel doesn't really explore too much into what I was talking about, but the Directors cut of Bladerunner undeniably questions what it means to be human. The film also casts doubt upon the fact that the bounty hunter (Ford) is human, hinting that he could be an android.

My point is: is a clone a human, or just a clone? Is an android programmed in every way to be human, a human?

Sounds like a rare case of the movie's being better that the book.

rick barclay

rick barclay
09-03-2001, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by zen


To do jobs unfit for humans(slaves). Clones could still be classed as humans, therefore it would probably be considered morally wrong to treat clones differently than any other human whereas it may be considered acceptable to use androids for any purpose. Whether this is acceptable and how different androids would be from humans is a major theme in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?/Bladerunner (it's even in the title).

Yeah. Okay. Those androids in the book escaped from some
planet where they were doing dirty work, weren't they?
Interesting. The androids were almost indistiguishable from
homo sapiens, too. Some of them were crafty and lethal. I saw
my copy of the book lying around someplace, but now I can't
find it. Shoot. The old lady might have thrown it out. She loves
tidying up my stuff that way, dang her. But anyway, a lot of times
I don't pay close attention when I read something, especially
when I'm predisposed against it as in the case of most of the
stuff we classify as science fiction.

You could also say that androids would do jobs unfit for any
living thing (which you did say, didn't you) , such as guard dogs, bomb sniffing dogs, etc, etc, etc. I think the problem I have
with androids, the book, is simply the lack of character
development. I think I would have liked it better if Mr. Dick:rolleyes:
had taken more time to write a lot more about his players,
especially the fugitive androids.

rick barclay

Sebastiani
09-03-2001, 02:12 PM
Yes Heinlen is great. So is Ray Bradbury, Asimov. The "Hugo Awards" Anthology is great source of well-written sci-fi novelettes, too.

I think Farenheit 451 is a true classic.

A Clockwork Orange is great but the one initially released in America is different from the U.K. version! The Americans didn't like the happy ending, and so the end of the book saw the editors chopping block. Also, only to further stigmatize the book here in the U.S., the Glossary of Nadsat words was absent, so in effect it was comprable to reading Sci-Fi "Jabberwocky" till the U.K. version reached American soil much later!

I haven't picked up a sci-fi book in years.

The English language is hard to describe but too be sure it has elements of degradation and also elements of refinement. Speed tends to affect communication a lot these days. Everyone is in such a hurry, n so typng lik this is ! raer. It days gone by, notice how slowly everyone was able to speak- just look at how slow and methodical older generations carry on? Now it is not uncommon to be squeezed into a "Power Meeting" with the boss where you must time your response in coordination with his cell phone answering, pager scrolling, and wrist-watch glaring, etc...
But no matter. We have a choice about how to speak to eachother, and the precedences we set may someday contribute to both the good and bad modes of speech...