Necessity is the mother of all invention, this is a common phrase and it applies to language. The need to communicate led to the development of languages. With time, these languages have developed to suit the requirements and preferences of the people. These changes are responsible for the various languages and accent that are available worldwide.
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Change in language is therefore an inevitable and a natural process (Crystal). Although change in language is unavoidable, people always want to stick to their known ways and methods of speech. The issue of what is the correct language remains a big issue.
If there is a perfect language, to what standards should it be. People have expectation on their language and they make a judgment. This essay therefore begins by looking at standardization followed by language expectations and finally the judgment on language use.
Standardization of language is the process through which a language has been codified, this process also include grammar and spelling development. It is also through standardization that writing of a language in an official format becomes possible. Standardization is of great benefits to a language.
Through standardization learning and teaching of a language is facilitated. The benefits that results from standardization of a language are numerous but the main issue that follows standardization is who is responsible for standardization of a language. The next issue is of course the need for standardization and if there are some persons responsible for standardization.
In the past, language standardization process has been hijacked from the hands of linguistics. In fact, the process has been utilized as a way of creating identity for a state or a group of people. Institutions of learning have also been linked with language standardization process.
Politics have also played a big role in standardization of language with the bottom line being the creation of dominance. Different standards in language have also been responsible in the creation of social classes that are present in today’s world. Language has been viewed as a cultural capital and that it create the differences between social classes, the educated and the uneducated (Finegant PBS. Org).
Deresiewicz emphasized on the role language standards play in society classification by stating that “mastery of standard English language was the ticket of cultural admission” (New York Times). This shows that although standardization of language is important for development of the language and people’s culture the process has often been misused.
In order for the full benefits of standardization to be realized then it is important that standardization of a language be done for promoting the language.
As stated, the natural process of language change still applies in standardization of a language and therefore the people should be the main stakeholders in the standardization process. The process should also be a natural process, which implies that the process should not be influenced externally.
Expectation of a language to people goes beyond a tool or means of communication. People therefore have varied expectations for their language. With language, people expect to share their personality and to express their message beyond their words. As claimed by (Baron PBS. Org) people expect their “language to express their solidarity or group identity.”
For this reason, people expect language to create a distinction between genders, educated and uneducated. Expectation on language variation across gender is of great interest compared to the other expectations.
The main reason for this interest follows from the fact that there is a variation in language across gender even if other factors that cause language variation among people are constant. In the English language, for example “men are said to swear a lot, to be more coarse and casual.
Studies claim that American women know more color terms and men know tool names; that women use more qualifiers and diminutives” (Dennis Baron PBS. Org).
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Language change and use is subject to people’s judgment, people therefore judge a language as a bad and good language. How people use and judge a language determines its effectiveness and development. This in turn determines the survival and continued use of a particular language. As noted by (Nunberg PBS. Org) “the English language will survive its current critics complain.”
This shows that even though the English language is under harsh judgment it has a well-established structures that will ensure its survival. Survival of a language should be therefore the key factor that should govern its standardization, expectation and judgment.
The use of any particular language reflects the changes that have taken place in the language. Language change is an inevitable natural process and people have not readily accepted these changes. Language standardization is essential in development of the language but the process has been applied for other varied reason.
People expect their language to serve a role that is beyond communication. After all is said and done language remains a subject of judgment from the people , where the judgment should be aimed at development of the language.
Baron, Dennis. Language & society Do you speak American, PBS. Org, n.d. Web. Fri. November 11, 2011. Print
Crystal, David. The Prescriptive Tradition. n.d. Web. Fri. November 11, 2011. Print
Deresiewicz, William. You Talkin’ to Me? New York times 9, January 2005. Print.
Finegant, Edward. What is ‘Correct’ Language? Do You Speak American, PBS. Org, n.d. Web. Fri. November 11, 2011. Print
Nunberg, Geoffrey. The Decline of Grammar Do You Speak American, PBS. Org, n.d. Web. Fri. November 11, 2011. Print