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Are today’s kids killing the english language?

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  • Pages: 4
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  • Category: Language

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The English language is a subject that has arisen as controversial over the last few decades. Many believe it is being slaughtered by the youth in our country while others believe that it is merely evolving to the ever changing world that we live in. Only one thing can be for sure though; it is defiantly something that is worth taking a deeper look at to get some true facts and opinions.

In today’s society the English language is viewed as an ever changing piece of communication that was once only a simple combination of words. Although English is still our main language in the United States, many feel it has been downgraded in its importance due to the amount of slang and other common slanders its users today have stemmed from it. Today’s population of adolescents are majorly being blamed for this factor.

Many educators and purists feel that the adolescents are changing the language for the worst with slang words that have no real meaning and sound grotesque. They believe it makes English ugly and not as it once was. Some wonder why this has happened. The answer isn’t nearly as simple as yes or no. Today’s children have grown up in a society that is much more complicated and full of more information than one child can even begin to handle. They have access to television, the internet, video games, the news, speeches; the list goes on and on with possibilities. With all this exposure to technology comes exposure to different cultures and different ways of life. In the 1950’s and before when clearly the perfect English answer to a question was “yes sir” or “no sir”, people didn’t have the everyday access to different cultures and communities outside of their own. They were not aware of the everyday ways of the blacks in the south or the Chinese in the east. Their minds simply revolved around what they knew and were taught which was hard-and-fast Anglo-Saxon.

But today’s kids are exposed to those kinds of things everyday so of course they are going to learn new words and new ways of life that will affect their current English. Just watch any episode on MTV, FOXfamily, or even Cartoon Network, and you are sure to pick up a few new words you never knew even existed. Go to the movie theatre and bam! New words fly at you as if they were the winds of a hurricane. Although many kids seem to develop these language changes in words such as “like” and “duh” and “whatever” in their teen years, you can also begin to see them in children much younger.

For example, my six year-old cousin once responded when I asked her if she wanted a glass of milk with “Yeah right. Milk is, like, gross.” It just goes to show that even at the age of six she has been effected by some sort of outside influence on her speech patterns, whether it be merely the way her older brother talks or if it brought on by television. Today’s kids are not in a sense destroying the English language, they are just merely giving it a more cultured and international sense.

In a recent study done by Professor Danesi at the University of Toronto, he found that the language of youth should be coined “pubilect” because he believes that it is indeed changing the whole structure of the English language. In his studies he found that the word “like” is a key factor in this change. He said that it is making the whole language more fluid in structure, like a form of romance language, that can turn any statement into a question, exclamation, or quiet meditation. By these studies he has proven to many non believers that the English language is indeed changing because of adolescents, but that does not simply mean that changing is bad. Adults who grew up in the yes-or-no era knew exactly what things were in solid concrete, but that is not as true today. But in a time when society’s answer can merely not be answered with a straight up yes or no, one must result to a “like” factor. Today’s kids must try to distinguish what is from merely what seems to be. This can be a difficult tasks for any adult, let alone a prepubescent teenager with no real ability or practice on the subject of distinguishing the difference between the two.

Today’s kids have access to many more sources of media and computers and this has affected the way that they speak the once formal English language. They are not really in a sense destroying the language, more or less they are making it their own by using slang that they have been shown through video games, media, the internet, and movies. The kids of today’s society use the words “like”, “yeah right”, and “duh” as a form of expression for what they are feeling, not merely just to make their parents or educators angry. They have found a way to balance and yet change the English language at the same time, maybe even for the better, by using the influences they have sought from around the world to make their language one that is more fit for them, more fit for the multicultural background that they have embraced and are apart of.

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