The Queen’s English Society (QES) has protected the English language from poor spelling and grammar for 40 years and has recently decided to close because not enough people care about the cause.
‘We’ve brought to public attention the very low standards of English that exist.’ – Queen’s English Society
The question is, is this a fair statement? Is our version of the English language the wrong version?
It is no secret that Standard English is not practised as often, or as fluently, as it once was. But does a change in language and style mean that it is incorrect or, as the QES has stated, that it is of ‘low standards’?
The Queen’s English Society has even criticised her Majesty’s own pronunciation in the past. Surely the QES is hanging onto the ‘proper’ English language by a thread and is not accepting that times change, people change and ultimately the way we speak and how we communicate changes as well? Suffice to say, the English language will be affected.
Advances in technology have seen us coin phrases and produce abbreviations and acronyms for even the shortest of words. Abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud) and OMG (oh my god) are amongst those most commonly used when texting or social networking; these abbreviations are even making their way into face to face conversations.
We cannot deny that technology has changed the way we speak and write English. Consider, for example, the way our radio presenters now speak; they use slang and contractions and it’s a very informal broadcast. Way back when, in the 1930’s, however, the presenters would have spoken flawlessly and formally, using what was known as BBC English.
Is it because we, as a generation, use a low standard of English? Or have the advances in technology, the introduction of new mediums of communication, and the fact that we can communicate with people all over the world in seconds, helped us to develop more informal, friendly relationships with everyone around us?
Have these factors just made us more comfortable talking to people in a more laid-back, friendly style? Or is the QES right in saying that our standard of English is just poor?
Communication is, in my opinion, more important than how we communicate. In past times, people wrote letters and practised Standard English regularly. As times have changed – and technology has developed creating platforms such as the telephone, the worldwide web, e-mail and, more recently, social networks – we can communicate faster and more informally. What does it matter, as long as we are communicating?
I’m not saying that spelling, grammar and sentence structure are not important but I would argue that shortening words and missing out letters to minimise the character count, often a necessity when texting or using microblogging sites such as twitter, requires a knowledge of correct spellings; you need to know which letters to omit for the sentence to still make perfect sense.
As I’ve already touched upon, new words are coined and new phrases are invented daily; language is ever-changing and is continuously developing every day. That is why at Global Lingo we are strict in using in country translators. So, if a new word or phrase pops up, our experienced, reliable translators will know exactly what it means and we are able to provide an accurate, efficient translation.
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