The (de)Evolution of the English Language.
Never before in history has a single language been as widely
used as English. The number of English users in Asia alone is
more or less equal to the number of Native English speakers
worldwide: 350 million, more or less the combined populations of
the United States, Britain and Canada.
The advent of the Internet has boosted English even further,
about eighty percent of the world's electronically stored
information is in English, and this widespread use of the
language has caused an increase in the demand for English
courses. An estimate by the British Council reports that today
more than 1 billion people are learning English for work, study
or leisure. China is strongly pushing English language in its
schools, there are more Chinese children studying English as
second language than there are Britons.
Those among the native English speakers who believe their
language will soon be the standard for worldwide communication
should think again:
Firstly, it can hardly be considered their language
anymore, since the vast majority of English users are not native
speakers. English is a living language and like all languages it
evolves, it changes and adapts itself according to its
environment and - especially - the cultural and historical
background of its speakers, often mingling with idioms and
linguistic structires of the local language. There is no longer
one English, but rather various adapted forms of the language,
often with dramatic changes in spelling, pronunciation,
vocabulary and grammar.
Secondly, the Internet fastlane is producing an even more
interesting phenomenon, when one would imagine such a widespread
resoure as the Web to become a solid reference for spelling and
grammar, we are met with quite the opposite, English over the
Net is evolving, or rather de-evolving towards a more simplified
More and more frequently we encounter what might look like
harmless spelling mistakes, blogs, newsletters, chats and forums
are full of them. At a closer look we might notice that some of
these altered forms are consistent across the Web, in some cases
we might encounter simplifications, such as there used
indifferently as 'there' or 'their', or phonetic shifts, caused
by the natural tendency to spell similar sounds the same way:
thus unstressed _ent and _ant both sound the same
and tend to be spelled _ant e.g. consistant Other
changes might involve the tendency to either spell 's no
matter what grammar is involved, two chair's or the
opposite, its for 'it is' pronoun + verb or 'its own'
The result of this might be surprising and, for the purists,
rather unsettling. If there ever is a common world language, it
won't look or sound much like English anymore. Current trends
might produce a language with simplified grammar, she look
chair, phonetic spelling ther is a tendansy to bad
wether and foreign words Hungry kya 'Are you hungry?'
a mixture of English and Hindi found in a recent ad for Domino's
pizza in India.
Being a living language, the de-evolution of English seems
unstoppable, in a certain sense this is a signal of its good
health and of its massive usage in today's world. Only dead
languages never change.