A Word About English

I think it is funny how many people want to demand that people from other countries and nationalities “learn the English language.”  Oh some are quick to judge and haughtily say that if “they” are going to live and work here then “they” should speak our language.  May I stop right there a moment and ask, just what IS our language?

Our language is, in many ways, not really close to the formal English language from the U.K.  If you don’t agree then I challenge you to work with some of these good people or even go and visit them and you will find that though you may be speaking the same words, those words may not mean the same thing you think they do in the U.K.   So what is it we are demanding immigrants learn?  We are telling them they must learn a Hodge podge mixture of words that can change and adjust at will each and every day as needed and as the current fads demand.  The language we use in America is a mixture of all different languages around the world.  We have words that are made up daily from throwing other words together and that doesn’t include the newest versions that include text-speak where words are shortened or abbreviated.   It’s a massive undertaking for any poor soul to try to learn the American-English language even if you are talking about the basics.  Think about how many words we have that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things.

For instance here are a few words that all sound the same but are used in different ways:

Stationary, stationery….Whether, weather….There, their, they’re…Bite, bight, byte…Seen, scene…Sense, since, cents, scents….Hear, here….Through, threw, thru…Dear, deer…Night, Nite, knight

 This is just a small sampling, but you get the idea.  Our ever changing language is a living thing that evolves, digresses, expands and creates every day!  So before you step back up on that ever so judgmental platform and demand that everyone learn the language if they’re going to live here, take a moment and think about how difficult it must be for someone learning our American version of English as a second language.  In fact, if you can’t speak a second language yourself, do you really have any right to judge anyone?  Take some time to pick a language, any one that you like, and learn it, master it until you can speak it fluently and write it, then once you have experienced this challenge first hand for yourself, you may judge, or you may do something more useful which would be to tutor and help those who are struggling.

 Oh, just so that everyone understands, text-speak is not a real language, at least not yet.  Anyone who writes abbreviated words and a few letters texting then gets on the band wagon demanding everyone else write and speak correct English should take a lesson and walk the talk.  I hate it when people text me things like:  “wru u h?” or “whut tme?” or “C u n a min” or “u lttn dog o?” or “idk” on and on.

 Seriously, it doesn’t take as much effort to type it out as it does to reprogram your brain to understand the shortened version of things.  Our language is a beautiful, living thing and can be used in so many different ways to enhance our lives, encourage the people around us, show loving emotions or on the flip side, to criticize, show anger, or berate.  It really bothers me that the screenwriters and writers of our time use some words so often.  Yet we don’t really protest, so they just take the liberty of putting things out there that they deem to be worthy of our intelligence.  There are so many wonderful adjectives and adverbs available to lend flowing descriptions, offer intense explanations and emotions, but we are stuck listening to a few explicit curse words over and over because of their lack of imagination and the thought that people “like things they are comfortable with and that are accepted.”

So many times I enjoy documentaries for this reason, I get useful information that I chose to sit and watch and I don’t have to listen to poorly written, unimaginative dialogue.  I don’t feel like I just wasted two hours of my life, and that to me is a better choice.  Not to say that I am not a lover of film, fantasy and action, I am.  I really love watching a good movie, with a good plot, well written and even the occasional exclamation is great!  I just think there should be much more of it available on a consistent basis.

 Cherry Coley ©

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