Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How Literature and Language are falling apart

Today, on Academic Row, there was a girl yelling "Support Breast Cancer! Only one dollar!"
I had to shake my head a little bit. I know that she really meant, "Support Breast Cancer research", or "Support the fight against Breast Cancer", but that is not what she was saying.

If you've ever read any classics - I'm thinking any Charles Dickens novels, The Federalist Papers - the language is "hard to understand". However, Charles Dickens and the authors of the Federalist Papers were both writing in the newspaper - they were for the common, everyday man to read.

Go back even further - in my Great Books course, we just read The Orestia (which, by the way, was really interesting, I'd never read it). The Orestia is a really long way to tell a short story, because the Chorus goes on and on and it's actually hard to follow. Now, in my class we learned that the Orestia was performed for the Athenian plebians. For some of them, it was the only education they received. Which means they were able to understand long speeches that some of my classmates (who are college educated Americans) could not follow.

Personally, I think it's little mistakes like the one about breast cancer above that led to this degeneration of language and understanding. If you cease to care about proper grammar because everyone knows what you mean, eventually, proper grammar will cease to exist.

And I'm sure, before anyone tears me apart, that this blog post is not as well composed as it should have been. I'm not on a soap box, I'm right there with everyone else who causes the degeneration of language.

1 comment:

//megan said...

Interesting post :) the "support x cancer" phrase bugs ne too. Although its kind of interesting that languages like Latin degenerated so much they became a different language altogether and that's not a particularly bad thing