We use language a lot. It's something that we've had since the Stone Age and will probably have for a good while longer. But we humans didn't just accept the spoken word when it was given to us by our ancestors, Oh no! We added to it and made it this never-ending thing that will probably continue to grow and evolve for as long as we humans do.
Some people even took this form of communication and changed it completely, resulting in 600 different languages the world over. In my mind, this always happened like a game of "Chinese Whispers" played by schoolchildren the world over. For those of you who didn't attend primary school education, the rules are simple. One child would whisper a sentence to another, who would then repeat whatever he or she heard to another person and so on until the whole class had heard it. Then the final person would announce what they heard, which would traditionally be nothing close to what the original sentence was. I feel that's what happened to language. A simple message would travel over thousands of miles and even more ears until the original structure had been lost and there was nothing left but meaningless gibberish. I believe that this is how French was invented.
But what has our generation given to it so far?
Now, we haven't been around for that long. But even in this short time, we've seemed to given our own unique twist to language. Or at least to the English language, anyway. But is our contribution the best thing to happen to the English language? For that we have to look back and see what all other generations have had to offer.
I'll start off with probably the most obvious contributor to the English language, the man who has gone down in history as the greatest wordsmith of all time, England's pride and joy that is, of course, Jeremy Clarkson. No, it's actually William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare is definitely one of the first names that comes to mind when it comes to the English language. He managed to shape and form mere words into masterful works of art that will probably still be forced down the throats of bored GCSE English students for millennia to come. He has been placed on the list for all-time geniuses all for his unique interpretation of language and how he helped to improve it. This is the first example of how language has been changed in a single generation.
Now we fast-forward to the present day, when we have given our own twist to the language that's been given to us. We have definitely contributed to the English language, but the question is, have we done as well as the bard did?
No. We haven't. Why? Is it because we are lazy? Either that or we are in an eternal rush for some unknown reason. I say this because to us young people we live under the philosophy that as long as the message gets across, then the spelling, punctuation and grammar is irrelevant. To show you what I mean, I will transcribe a message in "teen talk" and then translate it for you:
hve u seen da new batman movi? da drk nite rises tis awsum
Have you seen the new Batman film? "The Dark Knight Rises" is awesome!
But probably the biggest addition to language that we are responsible for is abbreviations. I will now use one that you will all be familiar with, LOL. This stands for "laugh out loud" (and not "lots of love," which has lead to several awkward funeral cards). It has been used so much in everyday life that it has now been coined as our generation's "word."
But this isn't the only abbreviation that we've started to use -- "what about you" becomes WBU, "just kidding" becomes JK and "stfu" means. you know what, let's just forget about that one. The point is that our generation's contribution to language seems to be a result of laziness and our lack to put in any more work then the absolute minimum amount of effort.
But then again, who am I to say that this is wrong? How do we know that when Shakespeare first opened with his play in the Globe, he wasn't derided as an idiot in the way we've done with the cast of "Geordie Shore" and "Big Brother"?
Maybe next century someone will write a piece acknowledging abbreviations and spelling words phonetically as the way of the future. Unlikely, but who knows?