Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Linguistic entropy

Please, for the good of future generations, do not allow encourage the decline of the English language. Broaden your vocabulary, don't succumb to texting abbreviations, and learn to use semicolons correctly.

You may wonder why I would suddenly rant about the ever-deteriorating state of the common vernacular. Well, the laws of entropy should not apply to language. It is not a closed system. Also, a collapse of language is a collapse of intellect. If you can no longer communicate ideas, you can no longer test them, and you end up with fewer and fewer valid hypotheses.

Of course, those are the distal causes. What, you ask, is the proximal cause? (Okay, so you may have used the term "immediate" or the phrase "this time," but that's just splitting hairs.)

At work, I recently had to explain what I meant when I used the term "infeasible" (not the first word I've had to define, just the most recent). I thought it was funny to define it as "not feasible." I then tried using "viable" in my definition, and finally had to sum it up as "not readily possible or practical." This particular college student told me that I was only causing myself problems when I use "big words." I told her that she shouldn't mind expanding her vocabulary. She seems vocally opposed to such a practice, which baffles me.

People are actively choosing to regress, be it in the consistently lacking spelling and grammar on these vast interwebs, the texting madness, or deciding to actively oppose expanded vocabulary. We are pushing ourselves toward Orwellian Newspeak. Of course, I'm guessing that Newspeak doesn't factor all that prominently into the Cliffnotes, and that's most of the Orwell reading of these opponents of intelligent discourse.

To put it into the terminology we seem to be heading toward, this is double-plus ungood.


theotherryan said...

To a certain degree language does change over time. Aside from that some people regardless of the era are just plain stupid.

Jim said...

You, my good sir, are preaching to the choir. Can I get a Hallelujah here?!?!