31 May 2012
The English language is always evolving. For proof of this, all we need to do is look back at the prose of William Shakespeare. People certainly don’t say things like “The apparel oft proclaims the man,” these days, and if they did, they’d probably be the recipient of more than a few strange looks.
In our highly technological society, language continues to evolve even today. It’s graduation season, and the way we refer to the act of graduating seems to be in a state of flux. As Grammar Girl notes in her blog, recent history has given us three ways to say it. In the early 1900s, it was common for one to say “he was graduated from college.” By the middle of the last century, the saying morphed into “he graduated from college.” In the past few years, the statement has become more simplified still, and many people often say “he graduated college.” For more on this subject, check out Grammar Girl’s insightful blog post.
Not only are we omitting words where we feel that they are no longer needed, but we’re also making up new words that we feel do a better job of capturing what we want to say. A popular example these days is the “word” melty. If you search in any dictionary, you won’t find melty anywhere, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of popular fast food chains from using it in their ad campaigns with abandon. The thought must have been that “melty cheese” sounds so much better than “melted cheese.” It may not be a real word today, but it likely won’t take long for it to make its way into dictionaries with its frequent appearance in our everyday lives.
The evolution of language could be seen as positive or negative, but it seems to be a necessity as we progress as a society. We’re always looking for faster, better ways of living our lives, so why should language be left out of the mix?