If you find the sentence above irritating then we have something in common. I'm of the opinion that technology and laziness are having a detrimental effect on the natural evolution of the English language and as a result the meanings of words and phrases are changing so much that what we write and speak don't even make sense if analysed. This is happening all the faster with the 'help' of social interactive websites, message forums and texting. It also irritates me when words are too readily added to the English dictionary. It's my understanding that new words, or new meanings for older words, can be added if they are published when the new meaning is obviously apparent (but don't quote me - ha ha pun intended). In this age of immediate and overwhelming information overload, I think the criterion should be changed so that words aren't included until in widespread general use, as would have been the case in the past. These days, words are added to the dictionary that many people have never heard and they only become well known and well used BECAUSE they are in the dictionary - that seems completely contradictory to me.
I love reading and will read novels (modern and classic), non-fiction, magazines and newspapers as often as I can (after I've found time for stitching so not very often!). I usually have on-the-go a book on my bedside table and one at work to read while eating my lunch and usually take a couple on holiday too.
When reading classic literature from around the turn of the 20th Century, I'm always amazed at how long-winded and convoluted the descriptions of feelings and situations are, and how the characters state their case in such a round-about way. I enjoy reading novels written back then and having to decipher what the author means, even to the extent of having to re-read a sentence several times. I find it fascinating that social strictures were such that they had no choice but to go "round the houses" to arrive at what they really meant. Many words can be found in these novels that had different meanings at the time they were written from now. The word "awful" for example meant exactly what it says - "full of awe" and not as more commonly used today, "terrible or horrible". Other words from those times have been shortened (this is probably where the laziness contributes) such as one I found in Tess of the d'Urbervilles recently. The word was "compeers" and, in its context in the book, I understood the meaning but have not heard it in modern usage, only the shortened "peers". Compeers seems to suit the meaning of the word better.
I am constantly amazed when intelligent people use 'could/should of' instead of 'could/should have' and don't know (or care about) the difference between 'there', their' and 'they're' or 'your' and 'you're'. This poor grammar is gradually creeping into magazines and websites too. I've yet to see it in books and newspapers. Don't get me wrong, my grammar is not good by any means and I'm unsure of the finer points (I start sentences with 'but' and 'and' and end them with prepositions(Wow, a sentence with 3 ands in a row) and use too many commas) but I think the basic rules should have been, and should still be, a major part of primary learning. I also realise there are many people who have a reason for not understanding the written word as other people do, for example dyslexics, but I don't understand enough about it to know how they perceive words.
A friend and I were talking about what annoyed us about the general use of language today (which partly prompted me to write this post) and she mentioned that her daughter had taken English Language at A' Level. I did English Literature many years ago because Language wasn't available then. A seed has now been planted in my mind, as there's no reason why I couldn't take another A Level now. I will look into what the course covers and see if it inspires me. But now another train of thought comes to me - I won't have the time to do it for a couple of years at least and when I do, what use would I put it to?
Another aspect of language that interests me is idioms and colloquialisms and I have a few books on the subject that I occasionally dip into.
The books above are all ones that I own and have read.
Sorry if this sounds like a rant and I know it's a complete change from my 'normal' post......it's just a bugbear (now where did that word originate from?) of mine and it's good to get it off my chest. I quite enjoyed writing it actually and contemplating the English Language.
Normal service will be resumed shortly!
Bye for now