In case you are a phrase nerd like we’re at Duolingo, you might have seen Twitter (and different social media platforms) blowing up over a TV host utilizing a very controversial phrase [pause for dramatic effect]: irregardless. The interwebs have been so extraordinarily distraught, that Merriam-Webster even needed to step in in protection of the phrase.
However, how have you learnt what counts as a phrase in any case (see what I did there)? We’ve already talked about who decides what’s “right” in a language extra broadly, however this new linguistic controversy highlights a extra particular query: Who decides what phrases are “right” in a language?
Individuals have very sturdy opinions about phrase alternative, and it appears that evidently some phrases take a long time, and even centuries to be socially accepted. Let’s take into account irregardless, because it’s presently on the heart of the phrase debate. Irregardless is commonly criticized and perceived because the “incorrect” type of regardless. BUT, this phrase will not be new: Irregardless was utilized in written texts as early because the 1800s! And this isn’t the one instance of English phrases which were round for a lot of, many years and nonetheless face scrutiny. Anyhow (with the “s” on the finish) receives comparable judgment (it’s perceived because the “incorrect” type of anyway), however the earliest use of this phrase was the thirteenth century!!
In distinction, some phrases have been intentionally invented (!!!!) in the previous few centuries, and they’re utterly and completely accepted at this time. For instance, the phrase dwindle was first utilized in writing by Shakespeare within the late 1500s, and no one is questioning your intelligence for utilizing that phrase within the 12 months 2022.
It makes you surprise, what’s all of the commotion about? Particularly since we all know social preferences for phrases differ (po-tay-to, po-tah-to, am I proper?). For those who perceive the that means of a phrase, does it actually matter when it was first used? Is not that the purpose of language, to speak? Society will scrutinize a phrase, after which take it one step additional to scrutinize the individual that stated the phrase! If it’s not in regards to the age of a phrase, and it’s not about whether or not it’s in a dictionary, then are we utilizing our private preferences to disgrace others? So, the subsequent time your word-radar goes off, take a second to pause and take into consideration whether or not that phrase is actually the issue.