Originally posted by skatman
Not at all. Langauge is a set of rules that follows a certain set of specifications in order to serve a particular purpose(s). Degradation can then be defined (although other definitions are possible) as such implementation of these rules that the system is not able to serve its original inteded purpose. There is no morality in that anywhere.
Technically, I'd argue that grammar and syntax are the rules and that language—or even semiotics—is something else, but that's another discussion.
But let's get down to brass tacks: for you, "degradation" is a kind of falling away from a prior, better, condition. To which I ask: why is it not, instead, a progression towards a newer, better condition?
Still think there's no morality in there?
I highly doubt that you know whether any language was ever perfect or not.
Am I a specialist in the History of the English language? No. Do I know more about it than the average joe? Yes. English was never perfect. It has never been perfect. There was never any moment when English was in its optimal condition or best "suited to its original purpose."
English is the kind of language that roughs up other languages in dark alleys and rifles through their pockets for loose grammar.
One doesn't have to assume that any "perfection" existed at the start... just that it was more suited to its original purpose before at some point prior time.
What time was that, specifically? 1975? 1900? 1850? What country? What accent? Do southerners speak better English than Yankees? Is it OK if I use "fixin'" (as in, "I'm fixin' to go to the store") if I explain that it's an old naval term that goes back hundreds of years?
Can I be fast and loose with apostrophe usage? Jane Austen was. Can I be fast and loose with the usage of the letter "K," which didn't really sort itself out until the 18th century?
And yes, your argument does
hold at its core that English must have, at some point, been perfect. If there has been degradation, there must, logically, have been a point at which there was no degradation.
That's the definition of which I'm also aware of. My question was whether you would classify it as a "change" or "degradation" and why?
Certainly you would not call it a separate language...
The only people I know of who insisted it was another language were the right wing nutjobs calling into Limbaugh in 1996 or so. It's a dialect. Just like Southern dialects or Yankee dialects or these weird people in Utah who say "mou'ain" instead of "mountain."