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View Full Version : The Great American Novel (Circa. 2050)



Craig Gosse
03-11-2008, 03:37 PM
Hay Man. ¿Wuzzup - Jo sez
Nuffin - sez Neveah - ¿Yu want sum ornjuz
Im widdat - sez Jo - ¿sum kofy 2
Shir, Y not -sez Neveah

It was once postulated that an infinite number of monkeys, typing at an infinite number of keyboards, would eventually re-create the complete works of Shakespeare. The Internet, however, has decisively disproved this...

(*Sigh*)

I love the English language, and how it can be used - and even, sometimes, how it can be abused, such as with a 'good' pun. Nevertheless, the sole reason English, or any other language, has any value is because it is a series of agreed upon symbols for communication. If you start changing or broadly distorting it, you might as well begin speaking Ancient Greek; for, that is about how well you will be understood. It is not about 'personal expression' - it is about the ability to effectively communicate. Having spent so long reaching this point in our shared language's history, I hate to see it's very broad and fundamental use being so quickly eroded.

Back to Basics:

The English language is neither nothing more nor nothing less than visual symbols representing verbal communication - it's how you 'draw' speech.
All those confusing punctuation marks...? They all simply represent parts of normal, everyday speech. When you talk, you punctuate - you just don't realize it. If you are having problems, read a published work out loud - and notice what your voice naturally does when you hit those punctuation marks. You'll soon pick up the knack...

Spelling, on the other hand - that is probably best learned by rote. English may be a great and wonderful language; consistent, it is not.

C. Gosse

Most people stumble over the truth, now and then, but they usually manage to pick themselves up and go on, anyway.
-Sir Winston Churchill

gp101
03-11-2008, 04:52 PM
And I thought this was going to be a fun thread like what will be considered the Great American Novel in 2050. What a jip. You're asking me to think? Deeply, no less? What the hell.

JamieFord
03-11-2008, 06:57 PM
If that's how you feel, you'll hate this book. (http://laurenmyracle.com/L8rG8r.html)

(My daughter loved it).

DeadlyAccurate
03-11-2008, 07:03 PM
If you start changing or broadly distorting it, you might as well begin speaking Ancient Greek; for, that is about how well you will be understood.l

If language weren't fluid and evolving, we would all be speaking Ancient Greek.

That said, you realize you're preaching to the choir, right?

C.bronco
03-11-2008, 07:27 PM
I believe that a good deal of slang evolves so that everybody will not understand what is being said. Terms like "POS" and the creation of leet (l33t) came into being as much to initiate the "in" crowd as to exclude authority figures.

I saw an MTV reporter interview a musician outside of an awards show a few years ago. He said, "What did you think of so-and-so's performance? Did he represent?"

I sat there thinking, "Did he represent what?" The artist didn't bat an eye, but answered the reporter as if he were speaking English.

With that said, I also speak lolcat, though, technically, that is a second language.

MichaelDeVere
03-11-2008, 08:45 PM
I think Mike Judge produced a movie about this very thing. It's called "Idiocracy", starring Luke Wilson.

donroc
03-11-2008, 09:05 PM
Let me say this: I never understood the term GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. What are the parameters, paradigms, criteria? To this day, I see it merely as a mythical grail, undefined, yearned for by college writers and other Lit. academics. We, all of us, would disagree if anyone mentioned one novel.

Is there THE Great English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian, Albanian (if you catch my drift) novel?

IMNSOH opinion, to consider it is another example of what Arthur Koestler described as masturbating with ideas.

rugcat
03-11-2008, 09:16 PM
Let me say this: I never understood the term GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL. What are the parameters, paradigms, criteria? To this day, I see it merely as a mythical grail, undefined, yearned for by college writers and other Lit. academics. We, all of us, would disagree if anyone mentioned one novel.This term came into being, I believe, at a time when Americans were insecure about their cultural landscape when comparing themselves to Europeans.

The English had produced great novels. So had the French. So had the Russians, with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, the thinking went. Where then, was the Great American Novel?

donroc
03-11-2008, 09:21 PM
True, rugcat, but since then, we have had the gamut of candidates from the popular (GONE WITH THE WIND), to the microcosmic (CATCHER IN THE RYE) to the social commentary (GRAPES OF WRATH) and so on.

hammerklavier
03-11-2008, 10:38 PM
Nevertheless, the sole reason English, or any other language, has any value is because it is a series of agreed upon symbols for communication. If you start changing or broadly distorting it, you might as well begin speaking Ancient Greek; for, that is about how well you will be understood.

On the contrary, those people speaking ancient greek, Latin, olde english and the like are the one's who now can't be understood. Likewise with those who speak American English circa 1900 come 2050. Languages evolve and they don't stop. Well... Latin stopped evolving and look what happened to it.

For instance, English used to have formal and informal cases like Spanish does. What do you think all those Thee's and Thou's were?

Furthermore, do you think all people of the time spoke like Jane Austen (for instance) wrote? Or that all writers of the time wrote like she wrote? There is always a stratification of language as well.

Craig Gosse
03-11-2008, 11:06 PM
On the contrary...

Quite true - which is why I said 'broadly' distort. Furthermore, the increased availability of information, coupled with (supposedly) increased literacy have slowed the rate of change of 'Modern English', compared to rate-of-change, historical.

I am, and have been, speaking within context of current society. Modern English is the current rules for 'drawing sound' - I am merely pointing out, that in this time-and-place, we must have a certain set of widely accepted rules for the majority of the language, else we might as well not be communicating.

As to your point about 'Ye Olde Englishe'... (*Grin*)

14th Century English....

My fereful loue from me ys fledd
whyche of long tyme hast ben my gyde
now faythefull trust ys in hys stedd
and byde me sett all fere asyde

Read it phonetically, and you should have no problem figuring out what the poet was saying - the language itself has not much changed, and while the rules for 'drawing' it have, they were, at the time, consistent in and of themselves, and thus 'useful'.

Pup
03-12-2008, 12:12 AM
Read it phonetically, and you should have no problem figuring out what the poet was saying - the language itself has not much changed, and while the rules for 'drawing' it have, they were, at the time, consistent in and of themselves, and thus 'useful'.

And yet, couldn't the same be said for the following?


Hay Man. ¿Wuzzup - Jo sez
Nuffin - sez Neveah - ¿Yu want sum ornjuz
Im widdat - sez Jo - ¿sum kofy 2
Shir, Y not -sez Neveah

Craig Gosse
03-12-2008, 12:19 AM
And yet, couldn't the same be said for the following?

Yes - yes, it could! (*Grin*)

That's just it - my 'prophetic example', laugh, laugh, *is* consistent... whereas, as I'm sure you'll note in a great many places both on and off this site, current 'English' usage is not... at least, in 'common usage', if you wish to call it that.

rugcat
03-12-2008, 03:03 AM
14th Century English....

My fereful loue from me ys fledd
whyche of long tyme hast ben my gyde
now faythefull trust ys in hys stedd
and byde me sett all fere asyde

Read it phonetically, and you should have no problem figuring out what the poet was saying - the language itself has not much changed, and while the rules for 'drawing' it have, they were, at the time, consistent in and of themselves, and thus 'useful'.Go back a few hundred years more and English becomes incomprehensible, It's still English, and you can trace its evolution to our modern tongue, but it's no more comprehensible to today's speakers than is today's Swedish or German.

Craig Gosse
03-12-2008, 03:27 AM
Go back a few hundred years more and English becomes incomprehensible, It's still English, and you can trace its evolution to our modern tongue, but it's no more comprehensible to today's speakers than is today's Swedish or German.

Eh - it's just some German, spoken with a French accent, and some French, spoken with a German accent!

Since I'm a Canadian who grew up in Kitchener, Ich spreche ein wenig deutch and Je parle un peu de francais, so I'm good!

(*Grin*)

(p.s. - before anybody jumps on me, I said I speak a little of both - writing/reading is a whole other matter...)


"I'm multilingual: I speak Canadian and English - though I can get by in American in a pinch..." - A personage desperately wishing to remain anonymous.

Shweta
03-12-2008, 03:53 AM
Moved to Critical Theory.

ColoradoGuy
03-12-2008, 05:03 AM
Moved to Critical Theory.
And let the Criticism begin.