Friday, December 03, 2010

Who Ya Talkin To?

Many years ago I used to have roistering arguments with archaeologists about the relationships between languages and their speakers. There were those who believed that if a whole new language family suddenly spread across the landscape, it meant that a whole bunch of ethnically related people were breeding like rabbits and migrating. Personally, I think that a whole bunch of people who may have been ethnically unrelated suddenly found something in common to talk about, like how you actually grow and cook these strange little grain things now that those big tasty meatbearing critters are getting hard to find.
Suddenly, the World Wide Web has given people all over the world all sorts of things to talk about together, and our languages are melding together. English has become a sort of lingua franca (Now there's a contradiction in terms!), but it is escaping from the straitjacket that the teachers of my youth wanted to keep it in. I was fairly recently rapped over the knuckles by an editor for splitting an infinitive or two, but hey, English has always been an evolving mongrel language. It makes you wonder how the rules of language get there in the first place.
I get a number of comments to this blog which I do not allow to appear, mainly because they advertise dubious services, like Dutch brothels, essay selling services for students who can't be bothered writing their own, drugs of dodgy provenance, and in one recent puzzling instance, white ant eradication services. I'm not sure why they do it. "Hey Honey, I think we've got white ants. I'll just look up that medieval paleography blog and see if they know what to do about it." ??? Nevertheless, here are some snippets which I enclose for your fascination and delight. I have removed all identifiers and urls. If you want an Amsterdam escort service, you will just have to Google it for yourself.
"Our girls will-power oblige all your dreams happen true. Harmonize with them not allowed at website. It's good up to girl and you can rumble a property of ladies inside. If you register doomsday wanted to look in on Amsterdam, by means of a fraction's length bring up the white pennon a call." Glad to see that no fancy singing is allowed on the website, but rumble away.
"X Grammar offers a exorbitant par Nursery entirely Piercing School education. By a multi-cultural environment that promotes perception amongst diverse nationalities, students are provided with the opportunities and resources to appropriate for cross-cultural learners and responsible citizens." I'm glad the nursery school body piercers are becoming multicultural and responsible.
"I give birth to infer from a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites trap stage roster and disposition be checking back soon. Divert repress into public notice my site as well and leave to me know what you think. Thanks." Apparently I am providing gynaecological services for actors.
Now I'm not stuffy about evolving English. Languages grow and change all the time. I have recently been dipping into a recently published book of essays by a man who is besotted with the changes in the English language, from Beowulf through Chaucer to Thomas Hardy (Ralph W.V. Elliott 2010 Chaucer's Landscapes and Other Essays Melbourne, Australian Scholarly Publishing). It makes you want to go and read all these things in their unmodernised versions, just to feel the words rolling along. It's just that I feel a little like the last of the mammoth hunters, and I don't know what the rest of the world is talking about. Is English no longer a national language, but a rapidly differentiating family of languages for the world's new tribal boundaries?


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Dianne said...

See what I mean!

Dianne said...

Enough, enough, you who keeps trying to post this stuff. Once was a giggle. Multiple repetitions just tiresome!

Dianne said...

OK, here's another. "A well written article is necessary to grow a website in leaf and bounds." This one came from a firm offering essay writing services. Apart from the moral considerations, I would be a bit worried about the quality control here, unless one is writing an essay about silviculture, I guess.