Is English becoming simpler and simpler to use?

Guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:42 am GMT
I notice that there is a tendency for English to become simpler and simpler, with many grammatical and word usage distinctions fuzzy or disappearing. What do you think?
Kevin   Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:56 am GMT
That's true, but I should say it's better for communication, especially for ESL people.
Guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:47 am GMT
But don't new grammar features appear and new word usage distinctions arise to replace those that disappear?
Guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:01 am GMT
I suppose someday, it'll become as simple (at least morphologically) as it can be, and then it'll have no way to go except become more complex.
Guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:26 pm GMT
Well, some of that 'fuzziness' is not as simple as it appears and actually follows some quite complex rules. This is particularly true with the case pronouns. Of course they are not always used in accordance with the correct case, as they are for example in German. But you cannot use them completely interchangably, far from it. For example, you would be highly unlikely to hear any of the following form a native speaker:

I saw he
That is for they
It is between I and him
He invited me, him and she.
She and me want to go

There are loads of other examples, can't think of them off the top of my head, but I read a whole thesis on the modern use of pronouns in English, so there is quite a lot to say about it. Basically a lot of rules regarding, type of sentence, word order, how many pronouns are involved etc. which add up to a system that is more complex than the case rules in German.
Guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:09 pm GMT
you would be highly unlikely to hear any of the following form a native speaker:

I saw he
That is for they
It is between I and him
He invited me, him and she.
She and me want to go

One thing that you would hear from a native speakers is:

"It is between him and I"
"He invited him, she and I"
"Me and her want to go"

The first two are a result of hypercorrection and many children are taught "don't say "me and him" but rather "He and I"...

The third one is similar to the "me and him" error that the first two incorrectly attempt to address.

It is very common to hear native speakers all over the world say things like
"me and Sally went shopping"
"Me and him live on the same street.....
MaryN   Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:24 pm GMT
This reminds me a joke:

At the heaven door :
"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"It's I."
"Oh no, another english teacher."
guest   Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:43 pm GMT
I think it's becoming easier from a traditional inflectional standpoint, but like another said, other complexities in other areas are rising to replace and offset them.

Take contractions for example: will + not = won't --that's complex, because it is an exception

same for: I + have = I've
he + has = he's

"Don't" is not pronounced like "do + 'nt"--it has a long 'o' sound instead of a long 'u' sound ("oo")
Genetd   Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:07 am GMT
You know dig it out... so its depending on whether you're talking the real talk like the dudes in the street or like they're talking in the books. I was having some English classes when I was in the high school and it was mad hard but it's a long time now from that and just from digging the American and British music and movie films I can totally hang out with all the English conversations and it's a lot easier. So you know it's seem like way easier than before. Then also you have to account for internet and so forth. English is become the world wide language of entertainment. Lots of the bros here are sayign there's no culture in the US and there's murderings and so forth and they're like always eating with the wrong fork in the other hand and they're talking to loud in the cafe and so forth but if you check it out the way people talk and the dancings and movies it's all the American stuff all the dudes are imitating. That doesn't mean we have to be down with their war and their fat people but everyone is digging out their language and it's getting more easy all the time.
Guest   Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:19 am GMT
Yo Genetd ma man how's it hangin ova in da hood of France yo? I is like so wanting to go visit that ol mofo country yall I think France be da hood, capital of da world yall! I think that France is like the shitz yall and shizzle ma nizzle and dem French babes are like the hot stuff of da moment yo. I think you right dat it's pretty dumb idea to learn English ouda da old textbooks and shit, I reckon you on da money when you spittin out da plusses of learnin English as its spoken by da cool dude on the street yall! I myself learnin English how its spoken in da hood by da real dudes of the world, I is thinkin English be da language of da cool gangstas and da rap artists and dem cool folks of da real hard workin america, da spine of da country you know dats how dey put it in da fraternal hood yo. Thanks yall for listinin to my cool as spittin, hope you also will say no to da presctiptivist text books dat are for da geeks and da four eyed fools who dont know bout da hard life in da ghetto yo ma brother. Peace out yall!
Genetd   Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:25 am GMT
Word up Guest, i'm hip to your scene broham cuz in my hood near Chaville or Velizy-Villacoublay all the gangsta dudes they are making the scene hip with the tight gangsta jivings. We ride in our skateboards and practice parkour but don't be thinking we're squares because i will tell you i'm totally down to bust a cap by someone's asshole if looks at me sideways. Most of the time we're not ganging instead we're straight up PIMPS mofoers! We talk to our bitches in the rough voice and spit on them and say to them in American street jivings, "yo, Chantale, bring it here some of the cold beers for drinking for us, The square people dont understand but even those not understanding will be afraid when we talk like a straight G, Yeaaeh boi!
Amabo   Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:48 pm GMT
"Is English becoming simpler and simpler to use?"


What you give up in inflection, you make up by word order.

Besides, the question is entirely subjective.

Obviously, one's own native language will always seem "simpler" to use.