The brilliant linguist David Crystal and his son David are fascinated by the original pronunciation of Shakespeare’s works.

Change just two or three words to the original pronunciation, and a sonnet may completely change in meaning. Unless we’re hearing the original format, we’re probably missing a large portion of Shakespeare’s original jokes, puns, insults and subtleties.

It’s just one example of how English has and will continue to evolve.

In my line of work, there are always pedants who pore over every detail and insist the old rules are the same ones we should apply today. Now, don’t get me wrong; I put great value on correct spelling and grammar, however I think language is of and for the people. Like any social behaviour, it’s bound to change over time as well as mirroring the changes in our culture. If the recently official words unretirement, selfie, fracking and crowdfunding don’t reflect changes in the way we live, I don’t know what does.

It will be interesting to see how English continues to develop through our growing use of technology and exposure to other cultures and languages.

When will US and UK spelling become completely merged, and which will we recognise (or recognize) as the norm?

Will we eventually use ‘your’ interchangeably, as people completely forget that ‘you’re’ exists?

What kind of words will we see added to the dictionary to capture the technology that doesn’t exist today, but will tomorrow?

Whatever happens, communicators will need to keep up with the new rules in order to be heard. If tht mns copywrtrs wll 1 dy hv 2 wrte lyke dis, thn so b it.

 

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