chapter  11
From the History of English to Current Usage
ByWilliam Petersen
Pages 10

A living language expresses the fact that it is alive by undergoing constant change. Those who love the English language and try to protect it against barbaric inroads are usually prone to object to all changes whatsoever. Classical scholars have perennially objected to a usage in English because, for one who knows Greek or Latin, the derivation is false. Plural forms taken over from other languages usually eventually disappear, but often only after a long struggle. Perhaps the largest and often the most objectionable transfer is now from several of the social disciplines. Works on these subjects are typically written in a strange language, related to standard English but with their own vocabulary, style, and grammar. Many linguists are opposed to any prescription: whatever usage a native speaker comes up with is a legitimate part of an evolving language. Others are pedants, using their knowledge to warn against a change in a word's meaning not congruent with its source.