I was recently having a conversation with someone about one of my favorite topics: the evolution of language. I am not a prescriptive language purist, but I think rules and standards are necessary, to an extent. On the other hand, language is human. It's a living thing that evolves and changes, as it should. I'm guessing few people would make the argument that we should still be speaking as we did 200 years ago, or 1,000 years ago: yet you will definitely find people who argue that rules are rules and we can't change them.
Bullhockey! (I'm a hypocrite.)
The road from English 200 years ago to today is a windy, gradual, and never-ending one. Language is constantly changing. It isn't just new words or new inventions that need new words: it's turns of phrase and changes in spelling and other things, too.
For instance, off the top of my head, changes from my childhood in the 80s to now:
New or modified-usage words: texting, selfie, glam, mobile/cell.
Words we use differently now than we did then: amazing (again, I'm a hypocrite in re: prescriptive language).
Turns of phrase I rarely hear and don't use any more: "calling on someone" to signify paying them a visit. I remember as a kid saying "let's go call on Katie" to see if Katie was home and could come out and play. I also remember using "what are you called?" to inquire about someone's name. I can't tell you the last time I heard that, and I definitely don't use it any more.
Language is obviously important to what I do, and staying in tune with trends, modern speech patterns, and turns of phrase is a vital part of copywriting and marketing.
What are some phrases you used to hear or use that you don't any more? What are some you've picked up recently?
This post was prompted by someone sharing this article on Facebook: Where's Me a Dog? Here's You a Dog: The South's Most Unusual Regionalism. It's fascinating. Enjoy!