Grichikhina Anastasia
Group 31
The article “Language” by John Ayto observes the issue of evolution of the English language and how it has changed in connection with the constantly developing social environment. The author analyses the current condition of the English language and presents several ways in which it is evolving.
Firstly, John Ayto recognizes the spread of the English language and a great number of its users and various spheres where it is actively used. He states that this situation is caused by the spread of universal education and literacy worldwide in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Secondly, the author notices that words are mirror of their times. Moreover, he adds that by analyzing the spheres in which the vocabulary of a language is expanding in a given period, people can form a precise impression of the main preoccupations of society at that time. John Ayto provides such examples as the implementation of military vocabulary after the Second World War, vocabulary concerning destruction of the environment which emerged in the 1970s et cetera.
Thirdly, the narrator touches upon the issue of rehabilitation of the words that have been forbidden to speak aloud for some time, and also some books which have been banned for many years because of the usage of so-called “Anglo-Saxon words” and notorious four-letter words. So, the author points out the tendency to upgrade the status and acceptability of spoken English. However, there is a contrary trend that shows a wide-spread introduction of euphemisms which are used instead of the words which were considered normal and non-offending just a century ago, especially those concerning the issue of race.
Finally, the author points out five ways in which new words are created. It happens by creating new meanings of old words, then by producing blends, by converting words to initials, by borrowing words from other languages and by coining new words out of nothing,
All in all, the main idea of this article is that every significant change in history always has a fingerprint in our language which is the best way to reflect the spirit of the age.