“Sheep are stupid and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.”

by w3woody

The Difference Between Citizens And Subjects

The French have a similar group that, the last I looked, was still fighting a rearguard action against offenses against Frenchness such as “le hamburger” and trying to force French speakers to stick to their own language and not go borrowing willy-nilly from the rest of the world.

English meanwhile just ploughs on merrily appropriating anything people feel like, and letting a combination of usage and reference material standardize the spelling for it. A true bottom-up (or at least keyboard-up) solution to balancing language adaptability with the need to be clearly understood.

It’s why English speakers really don’t care if you say “I am thinking you are right”, even though it’s not quite correct. If enough English speakers start the present-progressive tense for all verbs (rather than excepting a few like “to think”), it will become accepted usage.

Just as “flammable” has become the accepted word to describe a material that can easily catch on fire, even though prior to the 1920’s the preferred word was “inflammable.”

There is no such thing, really, as “correct English,” except in the minds of a handful of pedantic grammar nerds, and it’s why you get regionalisms such as Appalachian English where constructs like “I done read that already” are common.

That’s the problem with free and independent people: we done screw up things ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that there correct English.

And yet we understand each other, without a central governing body assuring that English somehow remains “pure.”

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