The Degeneration of the English Language

by Matt Morain

Grammar offenders, lend me your ears (or eyes, as it is). Youhave slowly been butchering the English language like a Greek deliwith a dull butter knife, and I won’t sit back on my laurels ofindifference any longer. It’s time you felt the stinging, wrathfulcriticism of a lowly opinion editor.

The abuses of the English language are numerous and evermultiplying. In our shortcut society we’ve developed speakingcrutches to rely on and help us to cop-out on our proper English.In five short observational minutes before a particularlynon-interesting class I heard 10 common language atrocities thathave gone largely unaddressed for far too long.

1) Like – Nobody under the age of 60 is above this train wreckof speech. What formerly was used in a non-threatening, descriptivemanner has now become a lazy orator’s pit stop on the road to acompleted sentence. Next time you’re feeling interested in Americanlinguistics, take a tally of how many times the word is used in ananswer in class, or your roommate’s phone conversation. It’sdisturbing. If conditions worsen, one day we will all speak to eachother in monosyllabic, emphasizing grunts.

After careful deliberation, I’ve discovered that the originalcorruptors of his word are superficial teenage girls. They are theones to blame, so they should be the ones to reap the consequences.The next time you see one, capture her with a burlap bag placedover the head and beat her with cats until she stops saying it orstops moving. Cats are traditionally excellent for purgingimproper-language.

2) Ain’t – For years this has been allowed and encouraged in theSouth. I was okay with that, as I had no interest in going belowthe Mason-Dixon line, but unfortunately the word crept across andcame to be commonplace amongst us Yankees. It has even made its wayinto the dictionary, as “a nonstandard contraction of am not.”Apparently, “hillbilly abomination of speech” was their secondchoice for definition.

3) Here = herre (h����r) – This catastrophe has gained afilthy, little foothold in our vernacular via Nelly to MTV and BET(Black Entertainment Television). This pretend gangster rapper fromSt. Louis has taken words that end in the “eer” sound – here,there, ear, beer – and edited them to end in “ur.” Thank you,Nelly. Before, I took satisfaction in the fact that I could simplyignore your terrible music and wait for you to pass like a kidneystone, but now you’ve left your mark on something I can’t ignoreunless I go deaf. Don’t think I haven’t considered it.

4) Gay – Here’s an inappropriate misuse that has been throughseveral transformations. This isn’t gay’s first rodeo; originallymeaning happy or carefree, it came to be a term to describehomosexuals. However, leave it to ignorant young men to morph itinto a term to describe practically anything not to their likingfor whatever reason. It probably stems from a deep-seeded Freudianhomophobia that I’m not qualified to delve into. I do know enoughto get tired of hearing it. “It’s raining outside.” “That’sgay.”/”Cable’s out.” “That’s really gay.”/”I’m gay.” “That’sunexpectedly gay.” Enough is enough. Find a thesaurus and look up anew word for how you’re feeling.

5) Probably = prolly, pry – These words have manifestedthemselves into our language from the chat room. Are you really toolazy to type two/five more letters? As disappointing as it is tosee these written miscreants pop up on screen, I hoped not to haveto hear it from my peers. The good news is that these bastardoffspring of “probably” hopefully won’t stay around for long, asthey have only a small, but loyal, following that actually use itin speech, not text.

6) Yo – I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know what it’sdoing here, but I want it gone. Now. When “Yo! MTV Raps” gotcancelled, it should have followed suit. If it’s not being usedtwice to refer to a toy or an ancestral Chinese name, it shouldn’tbe used at all.

7) Man, Dude, Bro – Stoners of the world unite to cease anddesist from using these impersonal references. These titles, thrownat the beginning of or on the end of a sentence, take down theimpact and intelligence of whatever you just said from Connecticutto Arkansas. Let these pieces of American English die with JeffSpicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

8) Jew, or Jewed – Anti-Semitism persists in thisinappropriately common ethnic slur, used to indicate when someonehas been cheated, or is being frugal. Ex: “I got Jewed at thegrocery store,” or “Tom won’t pitch in. He’s being Jewish.” In manyregions, this is simply a fixed part of the dialect. Many peoplenever even considered it could be wrong, or wildly improper. 3,000years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax and theyget reduced to a derogatory term for being cheated? Boo thesepeople.

“Gyp,” “Jew’s” ugly cousin, is (to most people’s surprise)incredibly offensive to the Roma, or Gypsies. Some might considergetting “gypped” to be a suitable euphemism, but these are probablythe same people who thought “Jethro Tull” was the band’s leadsinger and namesake.

9) Gotta, Wanna, Gonna – Not contractions, but instead inbredcombinations of the anunciationaly-challenged. They help ease thehardship of pronouncing every syllable of every word, a burden noone should ever have to bear. I only have one question beforebanishing these words to the desolate wastelands of Hoboken, NewJersey: What happened to “shonna”? Is he the smelly brother youconveniently don’t have room for in your car when you go toWal-Mispronunciation Mart?

10) Izzie, Izzle, Izzo – If and only if you are Snoop DoggyDogg, you may continue to use these words. Everyone else, knock itthe f**k off. I’m tired of hearing everyone 6 foot 4 and over witha sideways vintage hat use these trespasses to describe what theyhad for dinner. “Yo dawg, I had a pizzle of brizz-ed, a glass ofmizz-ilk, and three slices of saus-izzo. It was crazy good, kid!””Get away from me, you terrorist.”

These words should never be used in a paper, unless the essay’stitle is “Why is me are Dumb” for Professor McSmart.

I’m not casting first stones here, as I am not without sin ofspeech. In fact, I’m sure this editorial has a few, if not several,flaws in it that will kindly be revealed to me from a diligentlyconcerned anti-Mattite. However, I don’t believe that this is whatour founding fathers had in mind when they secured our Freedom ofSpeech.

It’s like, dude, why you gotta be so gay in herre? Quit Jewin’the English language, yo, it prolly ain’t cool, my nizzle.