Friday, September 5, 2008

Twisting Our Native Tongue

As I've mentioned before, I'm amused by Engrish, Chinglish, and all their variants. Hearing a Japanese man go on about "a big erection" when he's trying to say "election" is pretty hysterical. But as a writer, editor, and communications professional who's married to an English major, I'm troubled by the rather bleak future Wired Magazine predicts for my dear native language. To me, Engrish is funny because it's wrong; it's misused. But in the future, what happens if phrases like "Our goalie not here yet, so give chance, can or not?" stop being wrong? Will my proficiency in the English language matter anymore? Will American schools start teaching Panglish? Is English destined to be the next Latin? Either way, as a vocab and grammar geek, the thought of butchered phrases, mispronunciations, and non-words going mainstream kind of breaks my heart.

(For the record, I just had a vision of myself 60 years from now as a persnickety old guy who amuses himself by laughing derisively at all the "ignorant kids" and their "nonsensical babble". Meh. Could be fun. Perhaps the future's not so bad...)


Heather Colletto said...

I'll be right there with you! "Damn kids can't use a semi-colon these days to save their life." Oh wait, that's now....