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The "Best" Language

While reading Ch.13, I was challenged by thought that "For some people, the best language is language that has stood the test of time. Others relish the taste of linguistic innovation." (pg447) Now, I understand that language changes over time, but what do I (and others) think about linguisitc innovation? I think it is humorous when I learn that someone else has a different pronunciation for "lasagna" than I do. Why on earth didn't they learn it the way I did? I'm sure they are thinking the same thing about me, in fact, I am often teased at my work because I say "lasagna" and other dinner options differently than most people. Now, if I do have children someday, they will probably learn how to say some things the way I do. Will my "innovations" in pronunciation be passed on? And if so, will I be passing on something that linguistics believe is "uneducated" and disgraceful to the English language, or will I be passing on good innovations? Sometimes, I find myself wanting to say everything perfectly. What I mean by that is no "like's", "umm's", and also no slang. I usually think of myself as speaking English very clearly and purely, but when I really pay attention to every sentence I say, I find that I am far from pure in my speaking abilities. I do find that I speak more intelligently when I am around adults twice my age. I know how to do it, but I just choose not to make the effort in some groups in my life.
As an English major and future teacher, I want to support the way English should sound, but with all the innovations (including my own) ...how can I or anyone else really decide the way English "should" sound? I'm at a loss, but I do know that my "lasagna" is makes a great deal more sense than yours.

Comments

I think we all have a kind of bias towards how English should sound due to the way we were raised saying things and hearing things. It reminded of me of when I was in London a couple years ago and I wished I had a British accent because I thought I sounded stupid and uneducated hearing myself next to their nice, clean accent and form of speech. But, yet back in the states I feel I speak much better than some of my friends from Texas who have a southern draw. It is comical how we produce our own judgements on language in relation to how educated someone is, and although it should be impossible to say one language is better or more professional than the other, we all clearly have our opinions and judgements.

Anne, you are truly remarkable, it takes great effort to challenge oneself to rise above the lazy common tongue of the average daily mentality of everyday speech patterns. It takes effort that I don’t possess. And while this is a gallant challenge, you may find isolation down this road, being that you hold the language up on standards that is well deserving of all languages, your linguistic efforts may find others lost in a misconception of snobbishness on your part. However, the riches that derive from the eloquence of language through use in our society must have its ambassador. For your efforts I say “cheers!?

linguistic change seems like an uphill battle for the people interested in enacting the change! people are so ready to judge you based on the sound of what comes out of your mouth. and although language use doesn't really reflect intelligence, it's a theory almost never put into practice in the every day. the more "like"s in my utterances, the "stupider" my listeners consider me to be!

I can really relate to the use of "like" when speaking. It's not it's bad to use, but so many of us associate "like" with a ditzy, air-headed person (or that seems to be the stereotype), but then I realize that I use the word pretty frequently. Even in the field of [academic] writing, there are some taboos. We all know by know that you shouldn't use contractions in essays...oops, I mean should not use contractions. In the end though, I think all that matters is that your point/message is clear, and if the hearer/reader doesn't respect it because you said "like" and "it's" in the same sentence, that's their problem.