Are our language skills deteriorating?

languagesIt is a worldwide phenomenon, people read less books, but more nonsense. With the rise of the internet, smart phones and tablets we are constantly reading something, but that something isn’t always great, spelled properly or grammatically correct. Children and teenagers in particular seem to have poorer language skills than their previous generation.

Of course there is the argument that school education isn’t what it used to be and doesn’t provide children with the skills they really need. Blaming educational institutions won’t do any good and doesn’t even accurately depict the problem, because adults seem to be having the same language issues as adolescents. The root of the issue is the fact that we read less books or quality papers. Blogs, forums and social media sites do not aid us in developing proper language skills and what we learn in school needs to be reinforced, by reading written works that actually have been proofread and edited.

Of course it is true that languages evolve and need to adapt to current times, but are languages really developing in the right direction? In a world where abbreviations are omnipresent and people start saying LOL instead of actually laughing out loud, can we really speak of evolution, or is it more deterioration? It is probably a bit of both, as already mentioned languages need to evolve and have done so ever since. There are many critics out there ranting about improper use of English, especially nouns becoming verbs seems to upset a lot of people, but just as Stephen Fry put it ones, if you do not like nouns becoming verbs, then reading Shakespeare is something you should avoid. For one of the greatest writers of all times made a doing-word out of nouns all the time, with every chance he got. In Shakespeare world motions were tabled, and meetings were chaired. So while proper language education and developing your skills are important, pedantry about the correct use of language should not be, for whatever may seem wrong to you know, could become normality.

With all that said, reading books, all types of books, novels, non-fiction, detective stories and so on should be something we all do on a regular basis, not just for the sake of our language skills, but because books allow us to travel to faraway lands and partake in unbelievable adventures. So put down your phone and pick up a book.