The importance of the English language is immeasurable. Nowadays, it is recognized overworld as a universal language (Crystal, 2012). In addition, no other language in the world possesses the popularity as the English language. It is the means of communication in most international meetings along with French, Spanish among others. Notably, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) along with other major international organizations prioritizes the use of the English language over other languages. According to Pennycook (2014), many people around the world have at one time in their lives wanted to learn the English language.
I have used the language since I was a toddler. The language was of utmost importance because it was the means of communication with family, friends and even strangers. Particularly, knowing the language was not an option; it was mandatory as long as I wished to communicate. Unlike other languages such as Spanish, French, Germany, Chinese et cetera, the English language is very easy to know and use. Over time, I managed to have a proper command of the language. The language is however easy for those interested in learning it. Those from other accents may find speaking in English problematic but with practice they realize the simplicity of the language (Jenkins & Leung, 2013).
Right from kindergarten to A-levels, I have been using the language. When I was young I could not clearly differentiate between the correct words and contradictory ones. More often, I used abusive language without knowing. However, when I grew up, I noted the difference between the abusive and the proper words to use in different occasions. For instance, I learnt that I cannot use the same words that I use when I am with my peers in the company with my parents. In university, I realized that words are not only spoken but also should have a decipherable meaning. Additionally, I understood the difference between technical words and common words that are used in everyday life.
Therefore, my experience with English language was not bad. Particularly, it was an experience that shaped me to what I am today. Learning about spoken and written English is an aspect that helps me up-to-date. Indeed, the command of the language that I have today can be traced back to my early ages. Besides, the teachers and other stakeholders who helped me in understanding the English language are all indebted for that. Apart from how I have used the language, I have also witnessed other friends and strangers use the language in different ways. Some have used it traditionally while others have used the language in other modern ways.
How I Have Witnessed the Use of English Language
Just like any other human language, English use is changing every now and then. The evolution of the English language is meant to suit its users which is not a bad thing. In fact, if it were not for the changes, people will not have names for modems, fax machines et cetera. The change of the needs of the users of the languages necessitates the change of the English language itself. The younger generation continues to do an injustice to the original English language. They have used the language in a way such that the old men and women will take a whole decade to decipher their meaning (Pennycook, 2014).
According to Partridge (2015).The use of slang for example, is critical to the growth of the language. It vividly describes current life and events. Just like fashion, a slang used at a particular era is used to describe that era in the future. More importantly, slang prevents the language from being stale. The use of slang enables one to feel as a part of a particular group. It shows that one is part of a certain crowd and that he identifies himself as such. The people in that particular setting may be friendly and communicative because they have known that you are one of them.
How the Language Has Been Used Appropriately/Inappropriately
First, I have witnessed people use the English language in different contexts. The use of vernacular and slang today especially by the young generation is increasingly defacing the originality of the language. Indeed, the slang has been a combination of the vernacular language and the English language (Partridge, 2015). . The language being evolutionary, many slang phases get extinct and as the generation goes by, new slang phrases are realized. However, not all slang phrases disappear after they have served their purpose, or as the generation using them transits to adulthood. Some expressions become so common such that they become part of the language.
Secondly, people have used the language to launch insults to others. I realized the various types of insults that are available in the language. Surprisingly, it was my comprehension that so many insulting words exist for literally the same thing. Moreover, one insult can be said in different words but at the end, the meaning is just the same. Through the current telecommunications, people have injured others reputations by using inappropriate words that are slanderous and libelous. This has ultimately led to insults and counter insults which in turn injures the reputation of the English language.
The third use of the language I have witnessed is through threats. Specifically, People have started using the language to issue death threats to others. These threats have been either express or implied. This inappropriate use of the language has resulted in instilling of fear to people. Also, those who do not meet the conditions set out in the threat are done away with. This can all be attributed to the inappropriate use of the language.
Lastly, the use of the language has turned into an approximation of the proper English language. Words are always misused more frequently. The original meanings have been confused with the present use of words. Everyone now believes that words mean what they actually didnt mean before. When people ignorantly use the language in way that is uncommon and unconventional, the language will be dumped-down leaving a less robust form of English. Everybody cannot correctly use the language, but the continued dialectal-influence will in future render the language meaningless.
How The Language Should Have Been Used Differently
Although the language has been used by most people as a way of communication it has as well been used inappropriately for quite some time. Instead of the inappropriate use, the language should have been used to folster important aspects of the society. For instance, the language should have been used to expose the growing inequality in existence. Moreover is should have been used to highlight the gender and economic inequality that have threatened to cripple the society. Instead of using to issue unsubstantiated insults, the language should be used to publicly make known the level of corruption in existence in institutions.
Secondly, the language should have been used to educate the public on the importance of keeping the original meaning of the English words and phrases intact. This would have in turn eased communication among people from different walks of life. Instead of slandering the language, people should use the language to sharpen their writing abilities. Furthermore, they should have practiced on how to write inspirational articles that can be read by the society at large. By so doing, the language will continue to grow in the right manner.
Whether Language Awareness Has Evolved
Eschholz, Rosa and Clark (2013) argue that insightful language in action activities help students connect what they learn with what they experience in daily life. Despite that, that same language has been used differently in different jurisdiction. In Jamaica and Nigeria for instance, the English speakers have had a bilingual and ethnic mother tongue juxtaposed in the English language. In those countries there is limited language awareness. The importance of proper grammatical expressions has been under looked. As a result, teachers and students alike use the already corrupted English and transfer it to the next generations. Consequently, the language awareness becomes very negative in relation to proper English.
Language changes are inevitable when two speakers are in contact with each other. Specifically, no two people speak identically even if they are identical twins. Thus, people from different locations speak differently depending on the ethnic, age, social and economic backgrounds. Through interaction with different people, new words, expressions and pronunciations are encountered. They are subsequently integrated into ones own speech. Even for people who have lived in the same geographical location for generations, there are a number of identifiable differences between their speeches (Eschholz, Rosa & Clark 2013).
In conclusion, language awareness exists in very few areas and more so at a very low rate. The language is under attack by slang and vernacular languages. The change of the English language is unstoppable. In fact, the evolution is a means of refreshing and reinvigorating as well as providing alternatives that allows extremely subtle differences in expression. Any attempt to fix the language will prove futile. The language will continue to change in a more creative manner and sometimes even in frustrating ways.
Crystal, D. (2012). English as a global language. Cambridge University Press.
Eschholz, P., Rosa, A., & Clark, V. (2013). Language awareness: Readings for college writers. Macmillan Higher Education.
Jenkins, J., & Leung, C. (2013). English as a lingua franca. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Partridge, E. (2015). Slang: To-day and yesterday. Routledge.
Pennycook, A. (2014). The cultural politics of English as an international language. Routledge.
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