Thursday, October 7, 2021

Inveighing against changes in language is like inveighing against continental drift

When you get exercised about things you don't care for in English vocabulary or usage, you might keep in mind this passage from Robertson Davies's The Rebel Angels:

"Funny how languages break down and turn into something else. Latin was rubbed away until it degenerated into dreadful lingos like French and Spanish and Italian, and lo! people found out that quite new things could be said in those degenerate languages -- things nobody had ever thought of in Latin. English is breaking down now in the same way -- becoming a world language that every Tom Dick and Harry must learn, and speak in a way that would give Doctor Johnson the jim-jams." 


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