Sammy Nickalls
November 17, 2015 7:09 am

We all have that English-nerd friend who corrects everyone’s grammar and manner of speech — like when you misuse “literally,” for example. (Or maybe you’re that friend. I am, and it drives everyone crazy. Not literally, though.) But English nerds are gonna have to open their minds to a simple-yet-mindblowing fact of life: Languages change and evolve, and English is no exception. In fact, according to a report in The Conversation, our great grandchildren will speak a totally different version of English than we do now.

We’ve all experienced the gap between our grandparents — using words (generally involving technology) that they don’t totally understand, and you have to step back and explain what it is before continuing. However, this goes deeper than that.

During the success of the Roman Empire, Classical Latin was used in writing, but “Vulgar Latin” was used in speech, eventually forming new dialects and, over time, forming the modern Romance Languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Italian).

We can already see English splitting off into sub-languages, or “interlanguages,” in the world today. Millions of people in the United States speak “Spanglish,” or English and Spanish mixed together. In Singapore, “Singlish” is spoken (despite, as The Conversation notes, the efforts of the government to promote English through the Speak Good English Movement).

Though English has been viewed as the preferred means of communication in international corporations and government agencies, automatic translation programs like Google Translate may replace that. On top of this, the “classical” English, Standard English in England, is now spoken and written less than US English.

So what does this all mean? According to The Conversation, the future for English “is one of multiple Englishes.” In essence, it looks as though English is following the same route as Latin once did. A large part of this is because of online culture:

Another major change to the English language due to the Internet: we’re shortening things. Acronyms, abbreviations, word-blends like “mansplaining,” “awesomesauce,” and TL;DR” — all of these things have been added in abundance to the dictionary.

We — myself included — have got to stop adhering to old English laws, because it’s a losing battle. If you think trying to talk to your grandparents about life is interesting now, just wait until you speak to your great grandchildren. OMG, it will rly be awesomesauce.

(Image via ShutterStock.)

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