Some other people argue that the information age, for various technological and cultural reasons, has launched English into a new creative state. In his essay Politics and the English Language, George Orwell pointed out two qualities of the five specimens of the English language have in common (473). The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision. He also said that if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. It is important to write in honest and clear language and vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation.
Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. (478) On the contrary, younger generations living in the new technology world think that a language lives, and will be subject to change. Jack G. Ganssle, a lecturer and consultant on embedded development issues, wrote that Technology is leading to the total breakdown in the use of English.
He complains that writing itself is degenerating as it mirrors the every-changing argot of the common person, as if there is some gold standard that statically defines a language for all time. Most of us accept the evolution of language over time. He also used his favorite movie The Mikado as an example to justify his thoughts. In the movie, Gilberts cantankerous father scoffs at his sons use of the newly-invented telephone, sniffing that it will only lead to the further erosion of the English language. And clearly the grumpy old man was wrong.
I agree that the invention of the telephone is the most remarkable innovation in the history of mankind. Jack G. Ganssle used it as an example to imply that time would prove he is right on technology changes the way English is used. People like George Orwell and his supporters are not open minded to accept the change and development of new concepts in the world and still stick to the old rules. What Ganssle did not realize is that the invention of the telephone is not just a pure new technology, it enhanced the way how people communicate each other.
Before the invention, people had to meet and talk, or rely on mailmen to deliver letters to each other. After the use of telephone, it made communication much easier and faster. People do talk and communicate much more than before. New technology might provide more channels people communicate each other, but it cant replace the role of English language plays in peoples life. It is not the media that matters; it is the English language people use that matters. Interestingly, referring back to Orwells viewpoint on political writing I would like to ask Jack G.
Ganssle and his supporters a question, What would you do to deal with the fact that North Korea conducted asecond test of a nuclear weapon on May 26, 2009? Text messaging OMG! Stop it! ? Thats about the best method I can think of by your theory. Evidence shows that English is declining worldwide. The Philippines have been known for having the highest standard of English in Asia. According to Jonny in Manila, English as a subject has suffered from lack of money, along with public education as a whole. The government-approved textbooks they will study illustrate the problem.
A passage in one for 8-year-olds reads: The dog rolled on the floor so fast and fell on the ground. There he laid yelling louder than ever. The dog yelled on top of his voice. A book for 11-year-olds advises, mysteriously, Just remember this acronym”DOCSiShQACNMN”to make it easy for you to remember the order of adjectives in a series. I heard about a mother who sent her kid to school with the swine flu since she couldnt afford to pay a babysitter to look after her sick child and she couldnt afford to stay home from work.
If people dont even care enough to make tough decisions about the safety of their children, and other peoples children, how can proper education be made a priority? People are more money oriented and materialistic than they were before. Statistics also shows that by comparison, people nowadays study for future careers instead of self-interests developing. This also resulted in the declining of English. William M. Chace wrote, The stability of these ideas in the postwar years, from the late 1940s until the early 1970s, permitted the spectacular growth in English departments.
The number of English majors spurted up from 17,000 to 64,000 and the number of graduate students from 230 to 1,591. But by 1985/86, the number of undergraduate English majors had fallen back to 34,000, despite a hefty increase in total nationwide undergraduate enrollment. In the foreign languages, philosophy, and history, the story was the same: impressive growth followed by swift decline. The history of enrollments reveals, then, that the study of English and American literature enjoyed only a momentary glamour.
He also pointed out Finding pleasure in such reading, and indeed in majoring in English, was a declaration at the time that education was not at all about getting a job or securing ones future. In comparison with the pre-professional ambitions that dominate the lives of American undergraduates today, the psychological condition of students of the time was defined by self-reflection, innocence, and a casual irresponsibility about what was coming next. Yes the new technologies have brought the whole world into a new era. There are much more temptations out there for people to own.
When I was a kid, a plastic gun was good enough for me to enjoy my whole childhood. We played with dirt, with sand and water, with whatever the nature could offer. Parents and neighbors got together with kids reading stories. Lets take a look at what kids grow up with today. Video games, cell phones, computers and internet. I am thrilled for the change and I also enjoy it. It seems like if all things around us start talking and listening meaningfully and we have enough bandwidth, there will be no need for reading or writing skills for most people. Road signs will be replaced by talking GPS.
It sounds like a fantastic world. We have so many crutches to assist us in our daily life. People no longer need to memorize anything on their own. All you have to do is to make enough money in order to be able to afford them. I do enjoy the convenience and efficiency the advanced technology brings to us. Yet I pray every day there better be no power outage. We had a couple power outages in the server room at work these days. Guess what, I couldnt do anything but wait for the power coming back since all my stuff are stored in companys intranet and I cant get connected to the server to extract the information to work on.
Can you imagine what the world would be like if one day our crutches are not working properly? Would it be too late to find out we cannot even communicate properly on our own? I am in favor of George Orwells viewpoint. We ought to be able to speak and write English properly and precisely. New technologies cant replace the power of English language.
Rodden, John. Scenes from an afterlife: the legacy of George Orwell. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2003 Orwell, George. Politics and the English Language. Acting on Words: An integrated Rhetoric, Reader and Handbook. 2nd ed. Ed. David Brundage and Michael Lahey.
Toronto: Pearson, 2009 471-81 Chace, William M. The Decline of the English Department: How it happened and what could be done to reverse it Autumn 2009