G’day mate, what are you up to? Today, I am going to talk about the difference between the English language in the 18th Century and Now. Please note that I have no linguistic background, nor do I have English literature. I many be wrong in some respects. What I am going to say is all from my past experience of reading books and talking with some native speakers, etc. And, it’s not going to be a deep content, so you’ll feel getting on the same page. Let’s begin!
The level of acceptability towards the nuances of grammar differs from that in the 18th Century
To the best of my knowledge, the English language in the 18th Century seemed to have English ironies, satires, the indirectness of polite usage, etc., but, seemingly, the majority of the people in those days were really care about “proper grammar”. If you read English literature series written during the century, you can easily understand how significant the proper grammar was.
How about now? Too many incorrect grammatical usage are rampant, and not many people don’t really pay attention to the accuracy of prescriptive grammar rules. I reckon not just English but also many others have sort of liberated linguistically, culturally and politically as well. There used to have almost no international trades and be closed society, and so no regional accents, even no bilingualism, either. I can imagine it was a very monotonous society. Today, however, approximately 750 million people around the world can speak English as a second language, which is staggering. And it simply means that as English has become increasingly globalised, the level of acceptability of nuances of grammar is easing.
People living in the 21st Century are more likely to accept newfangled words compared to the 18th Century
Obviously, when you look at today’s social network sites (henceforth, SNS), texting language, journalism, business letters, and even academic papers, heaps of faddish words, shortened words, novel ways of using existing words can be seen every day. When it comes to SNS, for instance, people, especially young ones, are freely writing things whatever they are thinking, feeling or expressing themselves. This was unthinkable harking back to the 18th Century. But, of course, there was no such thing as today’s technologies and global connection.
Personally, to be honest, I’m really happy and lucky enough to be born in this contemporary society. If I was born in the 18th Century, how would I have been and what I would have been doing in where? So curious about this! Maybe almost unthinkable about going abroad to study, never had an opportunity to study the English language, and apparently not alive until 80+ due to lack of pharmaceutical and medical advancement, unlike today.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!