Ease of Articulation

When reading texts like Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Night in their original language, I can’t help but get frustrated when trying to decipher what the modern English word would be. It honestly amazes me how much English has changed over time. The differences between Old English and modern English are so diverse that it is hard to believe that they are the same language.

I took English 309 (English Language-Grammar and History) last semester, and thank God I did, because it really helped me learn the Old English alphabet. However, it makes me wonder what our English language will become in the next 100 years. If English changes so much from 1300 to now, how different will it be in 2116. Will English consist of abbreviations? Will English engulf another language like it did with French and Latin?

As humans, we innately choose the easiest and most efficient way of doing something. The same is true for language. According to the Ease of Articulation Principle, humanity always finds a way to change the sound of a word in  a way that is easier to pronounce. This is why Old English and Modern English are so aesthetically different. Why Old English started out in such a complicated way, no one knows. What we do know is that language can never truly be standardized, because it is constantly changing. Soon enough our English language could be a combination of LOLs and LYLASs in order to communicate!

1 thought on “Ease of Articulation

  1. This post was something that I was thinking about just the other day! I was curious about Old and Modern English and how different they really were so I did some research and compared and contrasted the two types of English side by side. It blew my mind how different they were! You were completely right when you said that its as if they were two completely different languages. Many words I noticed didn’t even have the same letters or sounds. I don’t understand how certain words then somehow turned into the words we know today.
    In the future, I believe that English is going to consist of extremely different words and phrases and maybe even letters than now. English is changing every single day with all of the slang and abbreviations each generation adds to it every year. For instance, there are things that we say now that the generation of our parents never said, or words that we have made up that 20 years ago would have meant nothing! Just think of how much it is going to change in the next few years, let alone 100. It is so crazy to think about. And really, the diversity and ever-changing properties of the language are what makes English so special and unique in my eyes!

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