||[Jan. 8th, 2011|05:56 pm]
I look at people who are highly judgmental of others' language usage the same way I look at creationists.|
I've heard it argued by creationists, for example, that they accept some forms of evolution - microevolution, as they call it, or small variations within individual species that occur on a generational level. They just don't accept MACROevolution, or in other words, the idea that a species could become another, different species. Evolution on a grand scale, what brought us all where we are today.
In other words, they're not so oblivious as to reject the obvious, but they are so stuck in their own beliefs that it's either hard for them or they refuse to see the mile-long ramifications of the inch they've given. Those small step evolutions are what lead to the large changes... they're all pieces of the same thing!
Some of the more annoying language prescriptivists can be the same way. Of course, language changes, they'll often say, no one can deny that. I mean, if language didn't change, Old English never would have become Modern English, and that'd just be the tip of the iceberg.
Oh no, but not THAT change. That isn't "language change," that's incorrect usage. That's ignorant. The only possible explanation for someone actually daring to switch around the sounds in the word "nuclear," or to pronounce the word "ask" as "aks" is either flippant dismissal of our pure language, or utter stupidity. Now, yes, I pronounce the word "iron" as if the R came before the N, but the difference there is that enough people do that one that it's okay now. That's called language change!
Today's incorrect usage is tomorrow's standard, and it's been that way since the beginning of human language -- the only difference being that this kind of nonsensical pedantry isn't quite as old as human language.
There really is no such thing as incorrect usage in the spoken word, since there is no objective truth, no ideal in language. Of course there's a standard, and of course it helps to have a certain level of adherence to said standard to aid in communication. But that usually works itself out on its own, and people who have the need and desire to communicate with each other will find a way. Either they'll speak the same language, or they'll find a way to bridge the gap between them.