My first academic love was linguistics, and I am still very interested in language. Besides philosophy, I spend a lot of time researching, reviewing, and enjoying content on linguistics and music.
I’ve listened to several episodes of Jade Joddle, and she’s become disheartened with the decline of the English language—in particular, the demise of British English. In this clip, she shares her perspective on what she feels are the causes.
One of her peeves is American English. I know, right? Specifically, the bollox known as Netflix. Although it’s difficult to disagree with tripe that passes as content on Netflix, I’ll have to disagree with the notion of declining. It’s obvious that Jade is a prescriptivist—a characteristic more evident in women than in men for some reason—and a nostalgic conservative. She sees change as negative or dangerous, so she resists.
What’s interesting to me is that as a language teacher she doesn’t have a strong grasp of the fluidity of language. I’d love to see her in dialogue with John McWhorter or someone of this nature.
Jade has an episode from perhaps 2020 where she explains why she doesn’t smile much—because she’s serious. She is genuinely put off by a supposed lack of literacy and decay of standards. In her earlier videos, she was more playful and even performed what might be considered to be skits. She went on location, but then something changed.
Meantime, I do my part in maintaining proper British English—or World English, as I prefer to call it.
The first person who says she sounds like one of the teachers on Peppa Pig gets a demerit.
5 thoughts on “English Language in Decline”
Just want to say, as a linguist and long-time academic, I’ve seen as many male prescriptivists as female prescriptivists (William Safire, for whom McWhorter is the long over-due antidote). So be careful how you cast your shade. BTW, I’m definitely not a prescriptivist — definitely in the Robert Hall/”Leave Your Language Alone!” camp.
Also BTW, thanks for commenting on my blog (“This is why everyone hates moral philosophers”). I needed to be sure you weren’t a bot, so thanks for dragging me to your blog. I’ll be back.
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Thanks. I understand that there are male prescriptisvists and female descriptivists. I am just anecdotally citing the research that suggests this propensity.
Even though I consider myself to be a descriptivist, there are plenty of times I roll my eyes at a misspeak. And sometimes I comment prescriptively – even occasionally not out of sarcasm.
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