When Latin colonised the world centuries ago, it dissolved over time into a number of different languages. Thanks to written texts and the global media, that is unlikely to happen today. But English as we know it is changing.
Already, non-native speakers are stripping out parts of English that cause misunderstandings. In the process, they are making the language more consistent. Some of the changes that are already occurring or seem likely to occur are:
- The past tense of irregular verbs — apart from ones we use all the time such as to have and to be — will become more regular (e.g. wed is changing to wedded).
- Some mass nouns may become count nouns (informations, furnitures, staffs).
- The third person singular is the only verb form to take an –s so this may drop off (she runs will become she run).
Listening and watching the language, I see changes such as:
- Brevity is a fading word — young people don't understand what it means.
- Less is often used instead of fewer.
- Myself is frequently used when me would be more correct (e.g. Please contact myself).
- More than and over are used interchangeably.
- Whom seems to be vanishing.
Some of these changes I care about and others I think aren't worth worrying about. What do you think? And what changes are you observing? Email email@example.com
Source: Michael Erard, ‘English as she will be spoke’, New Scientist, 29 March 2008 (http://michaelerard.com)
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