What I love about English is that we adapt many words from other languages into our vocabulary. In fact, many times the words remain in tact. Such as the word, “sans” it is purely French, yet we use it in our everyday language.
As I delve into my doctoral studies the more at ease I feel about using “language.” There are so many language varieties to choose from really. Except we don’t usually get to choose them, they’re the ones who make us who we are. They reflect where we have been and where we come from. What’s interesting, and at times, difficult for some to realize or understand, is the more fluent you are in any language variety, the easier it is for you to switch from one to another. Take “borrowing (a.k.a Spanglish)” some would argue that it’s actually quite a skill to be able to “borrow” and code-switch between Spanish, English, and Spanglish. I found this really hard to believe UNTIL two things happened to me. One: living, seeing, and experiencing Texas and TWO: reading Killer Cronicas: Bilingual Memories by Susana Chavez-Silverman.
How does this all relate to “English sans rules?” Well, its quite simple. For as much criticism as many non-dominant language varieties get from the African-American Vernacular English to Spanglish dialects; we have to remember that English is one particular language that does not have an “academy” to over see its “proper” usage! It is fluid. Thats the beauty of English. For instance, as I mentioned in an earlier post, in English, we tend to hyphenate words in order to describe something, like “passion-driven” writing.
Doesn’t that make you wonder why we don’t have “accent academies?” I mean really, as much as I favor the language academies that maintain languages such as Spanish and French, they do seem a little pretentious. Think about it. If there’s a “proper” way of using language, doesn’t that imply that there is a “proper” way of pronouncing words? Hmm…that would make for an interesting argument. Wouldn’t it?