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The Language Of Duh…

Alex Wong, Getty Images

We communicate through speech, body language sign language and written words. In similar fashion, animals also have their own language of growls, chirps and grunts. In both cases, the ability to communicate clearly is the key to survival for both animals and humans. For instance, if the baby elephant did not recognize the danger call of its mother, it would become an easy target for predators in the wild. The white flash of the deer’s tail alerts the herd to impending danger and they’re off to safety. These sounds and signals are vital to animals, as is the vocal bond which forms between parent and child. Sounds, which initially comfort and nurture, turn to words, which educate and communicate information necessary for the young adult to function and productively participate in society.

Through the years, Americans have developed variations of the English language, which is quite different from the Queen’s English spoken at the time of our founding. Various dialects have emerged ranging from southern, north eastern, western and mid-western. Also, each generation has introduced various ‘slang’ words, attributable to current events of the times. Although relevant at the moment, they last but a season. The regional dialects and short-lived sayings will continue without consequence and pose only minimal impact on the meaning of words spoken daily in AmericaSo, what is today’s language problem? Listen closely and you will hear more abbreviated words; more new ‘cool and hip’ words being added to the dictionary and several words purposefully misspelled to fit their new meaning. In most cases, word endings are dropped – working becomes ‘workin’, syllables are shortened – hap-en-ing becomes hap-nen, and the double negative is normal – “I didn’t do nothin.” Let’s not forget today’s phrases; “ya know, and I was like…” New words, new meanings; “word-up, my homie, fo sho.” “True dat.” Dare I mention out-right vulgarity (expletives deleted), being used to replace common terms for regular occurrences? Most shocking about this is the age of the user of obscene language; how cute that eight year old is. What happened to simple respect for each other as well as the language? “Please and Thank you sir or ma’am”, or is it ”ain’t dat right dog?” “Right on man, dat’s what ahm tawkin bout!” Is it really difficult to speak properly? I’m confused.

Pop culture personalities in the movies, television or music and fashion industry may not have malice in their hearts, but they must be made aware of the damage being inflicted on the American culture by nature of their wantonness to set trends. Silence the trend setters? A resounding NO! Educate every one as to the virtue of good grammar? YES!

The animal kingdom has not changed its methods of communicating for millennia, and by objective observation it has worked quite well. Perhaps a clue should be taken from that example. Modern methods of communication, does not mean proper communication must end. In order for the American culture to remain viable, each generation of citizens must effectively communicate the story of America’ past to the citizens of the present. The rich history of this nation will become lost if we lose the ability to understand the words of the story teller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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