How language has changed....

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MsBrandybuck
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby MsBrandybuck » Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:06 pm

Cassie wrote:Anyway, skipping over the in-depth JRRT discussion that I am in no way qualified to comment on ;) Az, I like your thoughts. In my mind I saw the "dumbing down' as a bad thing, but you're right, it does make us think quicker and get more accomplished these days. I'm sure that long and wordy conversation was something of an artform in the past, when people didn't have tv/radio/internet to pass the time. These days we don't need to sit around talking to stave off boredom, we have electronic goodies :roll: ;)


Not sure that's a good thing.
I struggle daily with my 14 year old daughter- she has the attention span of a poodle. If it's not fast-moving, action packed, loud, and brightly colored then she loses interest.
Forget trying to get her to read a book - and it breaks my heart that my kids doesn't like to read for enjoyment.
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby ashbow » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:20 pm

MsBrandybuck wrote:Not sure that's a good thing.
I struggle daily with my 14 year old daughter- she has the attention span of a poodle. If it's not fast-moving, action packed, loud, and brightly colored then she loses interest.
Forget trying to get her to read a book - and it breaks my heart that my kids doesn't like to read for enjoyment.


If you want your 14 year old daughter to read...ask an older teen that she likes to mention a book he/she is reading, and see how fast your daughter heads to the library or bookstore.

The fact that we are losing our creative and colorful language can be heard today with so many people misquoting our old idioms. So many people get them wrong because they don't bother to find out what the idiom's origins are and why we started using them.

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Re: How language has changed....

Postby shireling » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:33 pm

ashbow wrote:...

The fact that we are losing our creative and colorful language can be heard today with so many people misquoting our old idioms. So many people get them wrong because they don't bother to find out what the idiom's origins are and why we started using them.

That sounds like a very good thread, ashbow.
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Azriel
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby Azriel » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:26 pm

MsBrandybuck wrote:Not sure that's a good thing.
I struggle daily with my 14 year old daughter- she has the attention span of a poodle. If it's not fast-moving, action packed, loud, and brightly colored then she loses interest.
Forget trying to get her to read a book - and it breaks my heart that my kids doesn't like to read for enjoyment.


Ah truth. That's why I said I'm torn on it.
Instant gratification is not a good thing I think - fewer people need to learn patience, fewer people need to learn to figure things out on their own, fewer people need to learn how to entertain themselves and be creative. But whether or not that's the language's fault, or if it's television/internet/pop culture's fault is hard to say.
I think our language is more of a symptom of how people have changed, rather than the cause.

I think young people need to keep reading older books to improve their vocab, imagination, and observation skills. But I don't think that the existence of books in simpler language is a bad thing in itself.
"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era of darkness new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."

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Re: How language has changed....

Postby TomCotton » Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:43 pm

It is not just books that are suffering from the lack of attention span. I watched a bunch of pre-teens playing a pc video game. They were more interested in finding walk-thrus and cheats than figuring out the challenges on their own. If they got stuck and could not find a cheat or walk-thru for a particular situation they quickly lost interest. Some don't like to read the screen prompts that explain the controls needed to continue when playing Wii games either.
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby Cassie » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:55 am

shireling wrote:
ashbow wrote:...

The fact that we are losing our creative and colorful language can be heard today with so many people misquoting our old idioms. So many people get them wrong because they don't bother to find out what the idiom's origins are and why we started using them.

That sounds like a very good thread, ashbow.


I'll second that! I love finding out the meanings of sayings and where they originally came from. We do take a lot of phrases for granted these days without actually listening to the words we are saying.

[historian drooling]

When we were visiting an old house in England back in May, the tour guide must have told us a dozen phrases and where they came from (though, annoyingly, I can only remember "turning the tables" on someone). It was fascinating :)

[/historian drooling] ;) :P
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby shireling » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:11 am

Just last week I was watching Anna Karenina with Greta Garbo, and saw these Russian officers drinking each other "under the table" - literally. They line up, down their glasses, and start crawling underneath the length of a table. They keep lining up, drinking and crawling until, one by one, they pass out. Winner is the last one still moving...

I'd love this idea. Where should we put the thread - what should we call it?
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby ashbow » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:06 pm

I took your advice and started a new topic about idioms and misquotes in the General Chat board.

Stop by and add your thoughts.

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Re: How language has changed....

Postby ElviraStarkeeper » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:44 am

In regards to reading older books, I generally love it. I do find, however, that it seems to differ from author to author. One author may well be a scholarly gentleman writing in beautiful prose, whereas another is a spoiled dandy flexing his vocabulary muscles and generally being a snob. "Look at me! Look at mmeeeeeeee! See all these ridiculous words I can use!" Those are the ones I have difficulty reading, not because it is hard but because I have the urge to locate a time machine and go punch the guy. Ancestors of hipsters!

Aside from the snobby ones, I don't find older writing that difficult. If i come across a word I don't know, I can usually figure it out from similar words, root words, cognates in other languages, and context. I've only been stuck enough for a dictionary a couple of times. Sadly, I am among few in my generation. There are several aquaintances I have who regularly ask me to clarify a word which I thought was common knowledge. I can't bring an example to mind right now because I think I have blocked them from my memory.
I took a course on Medieval Literature in second year, and we were reading Chaucer in the original Middle English. I LOVED it. It was the first time in ages I actually did the course readings on time. The girls I sat with in class hated it, and when I asked what they were taking Medieval Literature for they just looked at me funny and said "credits". SAD!!
While I realize that my love of older writing is a little extreme, I do still feel justified in saying that these days it is changing more than is good for us. It's not so much changing as lessening. People are not only using less words, but the range of commonly discussed topics is sadly diminishing. English is, always has been, and always will be a malleable language but the illiteracy of some of my peers is frankly alarming.

In terms of LotR, I love JRR's style. It is rather heavy handed and in places absurd, but it really reminds me of the Anglo-Saxon and Norse writings which he is so inspired by. He doesn't let this get in the way of it's beauty though. My mom read LotR to my little sister, and came out of her room one night and said to me "I never knew that would be such a beautiful read-aloud book! It's practically poetry!" And I must say I quite agree. As for long-winded description, it paints such a vivid picture in one's head.


P.s. you guys, threads like this and literate discussion is why this will forever be my favourite forum. RB was my first, and i've never found one to match it. OH MAN you guys all use full words and things! :P

Edit: I forgot to add! I think while the condensing and reducing of language does make it a bit faster, it also makes it a little shallower, if you get what I mean. Less ways to express different nuances in conversation, and less time to think deeply about things.
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby ashbow » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:01 pm

ElviraStarkeeper wrote:While I realize that my love of older writing is a little extreme, I do still feel justified in saying that these days it is changing more than is good for us. It's not so much changing as lessening. People are not only using less words, but the range of commonly discussed topics is sadly diminishing. English is, always has been, and always will be a malleable language but the illiteracy of some of my peers is frankly alarming.

Edit: I forgot to add! I think while the condensing and reducing of language does make it a bit faster, it also makes it a little shallower, if you get what I mean. Less ways to express different nuances in conversation, and less time to think deeply about things.


It is just as George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. The reduction of language results in the reduction of thought, and the masses are therefore easily controlled.

If you think about it, the internet was supposed to open up the world to people, and they would benefit from countless news sources. But look at it now, most people visit only one or two news sites (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) These sites collect news from other reporting services, newspapers, and magazines, but only a select number of stories can be displayed on the main page. Even within the catagorized news sections, the worthiest of news articles are lost within the glossed over word bites, and they all fade to oblivian within a day or so.
Only the people who take the time and effort go beyond the herd mentality will be informed, and our society has trained people to settle for the same cud that the rest of the herd is chewing.

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Re: How language has changed....

Postby shireling » Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:52 pm

ashbow wrote:
ElviraStarkeeper wrote:While I realize that my love of older writing is a little extreme, I do still feel justified in saying that these days it is changing more than is good for us. It's not so much changing as lessening. People are not only using less words, but the range of commonly discussed topics is sadly diminishing. English is, always has been, and always will be a malleable language but the illiteracy of some of my peers is frankly alarming.

Edit: I forgot to add! I think while the condensing and reducing of language does make it a bit faster, it also makes it a little shallower, if you get what I mean. Less ways to express different nuances in conversation, and less time to think deeply about things.


It is just as George Orwell predicted in his book 1984. The reduction of language results in the reduction of thought, and the masses are therefore easily controlled.

If you think about it, the internet was supposed to open up the world to people, and they would benefit from countless news sources. But look at it now, most people visit only one or two news sites (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) These sites collect news from other reporting services, newspapers, and magazines, but only a select number of stories can be displayed on the main page. Even within the catagorized news sections, the worthiest of news articles are lost within the glossed over word bites, and they all fade to oblivian within a day or so.
Only the people who take the time and effort go beyond the herd mentality will be informed, and our society has trained people to settle for the same cud that the rest of the herd is chewing.

Oh, I agree! You've both said it, and I am right there.
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"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus


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Re: How language has changed....

Postby MsBrandybuck » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:01 am

Elvira, I love your posts. :)

I read The Hobbit and the Trilogy to my mom. I had always tried to get her to read it, but she never had the time. She worked at a full time job and she preferred to spend her free time at her hobby of sewing, knitting, needle point, what have you. (She was very skilled at sewing, and sadly I didn't inherit any of her talent.)

So one evening I asked if she would like for me to read to her while she sewed and she agreed. I was probably about 15 at the time- and it was a winter well spent together. It's one of my cherished memories of my mom.
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby ElviraStarkeeper » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:47 pm

Aw thanks MsB :)

That sounds like a lovely thing to do! My mom read my sister and I bedtime stories well after we could both read. It was less of a helping us to read thing than a sharing the stories thing. She also used to make up stories to tell us on long car rides, and I can still remember most of them. Now that I've studied more, it really reminds me of old oral/aural traditions. :)

Ashbow: I agree! It takes purposeful effort to find things out, and so many people just don't bother, or, more to the point, don't even know what they're missing!
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Re: How language has changed....

Postby shireling » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:06 pm

What a lovely memory, MsB. My husband and I don't have any such memories from our folks, but we read to Michael every night without fail. The last time he was in the hospital, I recited "Green Eggs and Ham" from memory to distract him. I will always cherish that.
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"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus


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