I became aware of something rather unfortunate a month or so back. I was quite upset about it at the time and was going to take to Social Media to bemoan the news, but I didn’t. I would like to say that it was because I wanted to be alone with my grief, but really I just thought that most people would shake their heads at me and wonder what I was on about.
It wouldn’t be the first time that had happened.
Anyway, after deciding yesterday that the next two weeks are just about blogging every day, and not over thinking things, I’ve decided to share this sad news, because I think people will benefit from it. Or they will think I’m crazy anyway, and at least then I’ll know it wasn’t all in my head.
The English language has dropped the letters ST.
Shocking isn’t it?
Now before you panic, it hasn’t dropped it in all circumstances; you can still come firST. You can still STab someone in a STable (though I wouldn’t recommend it.) And you can still adjuST to acroSTics written by acupuncturiSTs.
You can not however do that amidst something, or whilst doing something else. That is no longer allowed.
Now I follow lots of word-loving Facebook pages that occasionally lament the death of the English language as we know it, and most of the time I wonder what they are going on about. Of course there is the blatant disregard of a words actual meaning in some circumstances (I’m looking at you ‘seen’ used in the ‘saw’ context), and I don’t know why twerking is allowed to exist. As a word or anything else for that matter, but in general, I thought English was doing ok. Or as ok as a language that is very weird can do.
And then they went and canned the ST in whilst. Apparently it’s too ‘archaic’. Well to that I say ‘pfft!’ What’s wrong with a little archaism in the written word? Surely it’s got to be preferable to the overuse of the word like?
The thing is, I didn’t realise it until I was informed of the death of ST but I was quite dependent on those two little letters; I thought they made me sound clever. Because let’s face it when writing a written argument the sentence:
‘While the overuse of the word seriously in EssentiallyJess’s spoken vocabulary was intolerable, she was redeemed by her perfect use of archaic expressions in written form,’
does not have anywhere near the same power as when you start the sentence with whilst.
Go on, read it. Argue with me if you dare 😉
‘Whilst the overuse of the word seriously in EssentiallyJess’s spoken vocabulary was intolerable, she was redeemed by her perfect use of archaic expressions in written form.’
Likewise, there is something about amidst or amongst that adds a little bit of class. Can you imagine what will happen in classrooms all over the world, if teachers are forced to say ‘talk among yourselves for a moment?’ The world as we know it, will change.
The world, sadly, already has.
Now according to my TAFE lecturer, the use of these traditional idioms is not allowed, and so, because I am a perpetual rule follower and a bit of a nerd who has been wondering how uncool it is to email and ask how to turn an A into an A+, I have cast aside the ST in favour of good grades.
However according to Google (and we all know how right Google is), it’s all based on location. So if you’re American or Canadian, you’re going to be shaking your head at me, wondering why I would even care about this, if you’re British, you might also shake your head, (unless you’re a little bit old-fashioned, at which point we can drown our sorrows over this destruction of the English language with tea and cake), and if you’re Australian, you probably have stopped reading by now.
Which was the exact reason I never shared my woe in the first place. *sigh*
Anyway, all of that was just to say this: ST is out, it’s all very sad, and before you know it the English language will have dissolved into a whole bunch of ineffectual contractions and overuse of acronyms that sound better when spelt. (LOL anyone?) So if you need me, I’ll be amongst my British ST loving friends, drinking tea whilst researching more archaic terms I can never use again.
Anyone wanna join me? 🙂
Do you think the English language is dying?
Do you care at all, that ‘whilst’ is now considered archaic? Would it sway you at all on its use if I said the George RR Martin uses it prolifically in his books?
Have you just skipped ahead to this part so you can say something in the comments and pretend you’ve read the post? I won’t hold it against you? 😉
Just a reminder IBOT will now be closing earlier, at 12 midnight WA time.