Language needs to be demystified to people. It still perplexes me in many small ways, but the overall ideas of how language works and why can be simplified.
Life is full of experiences, and those experiences are constantly changing from what the previous society was like. As people change, language changes. New words are easy to understand, as a generation ago defriending wasn’t a required word, and as jargon has emerged in developing industries.
But that isn’t the limits of the changes. Good grammar, proper grammar, the kind of thing we would call Queen’s English, is also changing. What is considered proper academic writing is being questioned. And what is recognised among everyone changes continually.
The academic example is a particularly interesting one because it highlights the ethnocentric views held by many people.
A school in the US was getting results well below the averages in a community that consisted of a low income, segregated community. The way people spoke was, by traditional standards, poor. What they attempted to do was define the way their community spoke as its own language. Calling it a whole language is quite inaccurate, it is more accurately a creole, but the point was, if you allowed people to write as they naturally write, and speak as they naturally speak, they were just as capable as students across the country. They were being marked down because of the traditional views of language and grammar. Perhaps as education develops there will be more acceptance of these variations.
Change isn’t some sort of mar on English. The common arguments that Twitter and texting are ruining language are explained clearly by John McHorter. Instead of thinking about how a texting is a faulty system, we need to understand it as simply another means. The text you use on your mobile phone does not impair your ability to write an essay, any more than your essay writing alters how you speak. If anything, use of words in different circumstances can only lead to better understanding.
Other cultures have better acceptance and understanding of dialects, while the notion of an accent is the usual limitation of differences in English, or the difference between US and UK spelling systems. Outside of English though the discrimination can go from a more subtle ethnocentric view to an outright racist one. One language is perceived as better than another, one is more scientific, another more romantic.
As time goes on perhaps people will stop blindly believing these ignorant, trivial convictions they have had since early education. Society has worked to overcome religious, race and gender inequality (though the process is ongoing). Now we seem focused on a balance of rights for everyone of different sexuality. As we begin to better understand people who don’t identify as male or female, or as we try to better understand what age will mean as the role of the young and old change, perhaps we can also overcome some ignorance around varied languages, and different uses of English.