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February 29, 2012
Posted at 6:08 pm

To The Arbiters of Language

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

Er, Groan, that means it's presidential election year (in the U.S.). Now we'll all bash each other with rhetoric. Nope, not going there....

I have a beef today with some language police. Linguists usually fall into two camps when it comes to word usage. Those of the first position maintain that there are rules and regulations that are immutable. The Queen's English should remain unchanging and unchangeable. Only proper word use shall do, for now and forever.

The second camp studies language from era to era without preconception. Evolution of word usage over time is just as fascinating to them as the underlying foundation of structure and custom. They don't advocate demolishing the rules, but for allowing rules to follow commonly accepted practice. Agreements change over time to fit current culture, and so should grammar and spelling. These linguists do not impose themselves upon the language, so much as interpret it.

I'm of the second group. 'Alright' is a perfectly acceptable word for me. Ain't it grand? Yes, we have to agree what is alright and what is all right, but as long as we understand what is being said, it's all okay, in my opinion.