Language is alive and constantly evolving. It’s changing form and usage every couple of centuries. As an example, English emerged during the Anglo-Saxon age in Britain. The three main periods are: Old English, Middle English, and Modern English.
I doubt many of you have studied Old English unless you’re an English major/ minor in college. The most popular book, Beowulf looks like a sheet of symbols. In order to understand it, most people need a translation.
A very popular example of Middle English is Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. As you can see from the link here, it’s possible to comprehend compared to Beowulf. The words are similar to our own but it’s still obvious the modern translation is needed to fully understand the story.
Modern English began about 1500 with Shakespeare being a wonderful literary example. His work is certainly easier to read than Chaucer. Thought, if you ask most people, they still have trouble comprehending what he’s trying to say. His sonnets and plays are very poetic compared to dialogue found in 21st century books. Therefore the Modern English period can be divided: Early Modern English and Modern English which started around the late 1700’s. Some of our most popular classic novels were published around this time. (Example: Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility)
Is social media ruining the English language? The first thing to note, writing and speaking are two different things. Writing is more formal. For a book to be taken seriously, it needs to follow the formatting rules. For example, many books follow MLA Format.
Speaking a language is usually more relaxed and full of slang, jargon, and acronyms. Social media is full of abbreviated words and spellings. Twitter, Facebook, and texts have become a modern way to conveniently communicate. It’s easier to send a quick Facebook message to confirm an appointment. Social media doesn’t diminish the quality of our books and language. It’s a form of communication. Professional novels are not going to evolve in such a drastic way any time soon.
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