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Thongs and change

June 29, 2010

Today’s Pickles brought out a language change that I had not really thought about until I saw the comic.


As I head closer to my next decade, I realize that the language my students hear outside of school is not the language I am always familiar with. As long as we stay within the realm of academic English I am okay. However, I don’t listen to current music much or keep up well with the recent stars except to know that Lady GaGa can be the punch line for a certain kind of joke. I missed out on the U.S. music scene in the 80s because I was overseas most of the decade. When I returned, I had small children and didn’t have time to reacquaint myself.

I try to acquaint students with language change and different grammar terms used. For example, I was taught restrictive and non restrictive clauses when I was in school and I could never really understand them using that terminology, but when I learned essential and nonessential clauses are the same thing, they became much easier to understand. I have trouble knowing whether a grammar or writing book is going to use progressive or continuous tense though they mean the same thing. I was taught to use “shall” in school but never did and now it has become confined to requesting agreement such as “Shall we leave now?” or “Shall we talk about that at our next meeting?” As a linguist, I have no problems with language changing though I would like a few clues to what is the modern usage.

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