I don't know about you, but I'm fascinated by the evolution of language. I mean at what point did we stop speaking Middle English and exchange it for words like postsantum depression in the Urban Dictionary? Hilarious I might add.
I mean, I had to memorize the General Prologue from the Canterbury Tales by Geoffery Chaucer and recite it in front of my AP English class when I was a senior in high school. In fact, I can still remember the first two lines (OK, I had to look up the spellings):
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
We read as many "tales" as we could take, I'm sure, and all in this ancient rhyme. On to the language of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, even Mark Twain, and we could barely figure out what everyone was talking about at any given time.
So today, when I had to write the word "pompon" in a blog post I was writing for work, I said to myself No one in their right mind calls them pompons anymore. What kind of a git will I be if I spell it correctly? Then I remembered that we had even changed the antiquated pompon to pom-pom in the Paper Crafts style guide recently. As it so happens, paper crafters use a lot of bitty pom-poms in their projects, so this has been a troublesome issue when writing supply lists and instructions for the magazine. So I thought, OK, if Paper Crafts can say pom-pom, and even the venerable Martha Stewart is using pom-pom, then surely I can too? I know, right?
But it made me wonder--where am I getting the sense that pompon is outdated and pom-pom is its more contemporary independent liberal sister? In other words, how does language change and why?
And who gets to decide what changes are OK? As in, why did it used to be one pair for the singular, and two pairs for the plural and now it's just peachy keeno fine to say two pair? It's even listed in the dictionary as correct. It's the second option, but it's correct. Drives me batty, I tell ya.
Or when did that rule about never ending a sentence with a prepostion get tossed out? I can't stand to end sentences with a preposition. I'm still writing sentences like this: I am amazed at the state in which we have found ourselves. No way I could ever say I am amazed at the state we have found ourselves in.
Yuck! I get heebie jeebies all over my body. And yet, when I write or talk that way, I feel and sound so formal. So git-ish.
I could go on and on, and I'm sure at various points I will. But really the amazing thing is the debate we can have over one little letter variation (plus a hyphen) in a word.