An open letter to the overseers of the English language


An open letter to the keeper(s) of the English language:

It has often been stated that languages are living, breathing things, they are constantly evolving and changing to accommodate current trends and needs. One needs only to consider the numerous additions to the English language that arose from increasing computer and particularly Internet usage; reboot, blog and, of course, sexting to mention just a few.

You have been charged with, and have accepted, the task of overseeing and directing the development of the English language as it stretches and flexes to keep up.

I thought that if you accept the ever-changing nature of language you should look back at some existing words and adapt them.

For instance, considering what it does, a holster should really be a holdster; and given where they are, rafters would more appropriately be called roofters.

While you’re at it, please do something about raise and raze; engineers and construction companies can raise a building to scrape the sky, then years later a demolition crew can raze it to the ground. Was there no imagination used at all, couldn’t you have come up with a different sounding word for one of them? Homophones with diametrically opposed meanings – not your best moment.

If your criterion for acceptance as a new word is the number of people saying it I fear you will soon  be adding Old-Timers Disease for Alzheimer’s as more and more  people erroneously use that term; I trust you won’t succumb, but then you did accept fax for facsimile, much to the chagrin of English purists everywhere no doubt.

However, I hear many folks saying didn’t with two beats – DIDINT. Completely missing the point of the contraction.

And why don’t we look at some of the current pronunciations? When did you agree that the emphasis should be on the second syllable in the word student so that it tends to pronounced stu-DANT today?

Contractions such as didn’t are supposed to be used to ease the flow of the language from two beats – did not – to one, didn’t.  This holds true for shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, well I could go on, but I will not – or won’t.

I know you are probably very busy with all the political campaign gibberish currently, but maybe in late November you’ll have a chance to consider my requests, and by then I suspect I’ll have more for you.

Thank you.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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