Kellye, I could just hug you. Honestly, the things you have brought up are things that just drive me nuts!
Language is not a stagnant entity - it changes, develops, grows, evolves. Otherwise it would die off and we would be left with only primitive forms of communication. History has shown us that languages that are unable to evolve are languages that eventually die.
Evolution, however, is different to destruction. My biggest bugbear is the appearance of the apostrophe in every word that has an `s' on the end. It is so endemic it's even appearing in commercial signs. For example, `Get your shopping trolley's here' or `Apple's - $2.00!' Honestly! These words are plurals, not possessive pronouns. (Or, should I say, pronoun's??)
To me it's indicative of the lessened focus on grammar in early schooling, and the glossing-over of grammatical issues and spelling in higher schooling. When I was at school spelling and grammar were tested regularly, and were a very important part of the curriculum. People think it doesn't matter, but it does. Effective communication enhances your life in a myriad of ways, and being articulate and eloquent are skills that can really buoy success in life.
Another bugbear is the disappearance of the adverb. `He's going so slow', `She wrote that essay beautiful' - slowly
- why is it so hard??
The internet and mobile phone communications phenomena are, I believe, 100% responsible for the abbreviations seen in arenas where they are not acceptable. Such as the essay Leli mentioned. But it's not just English where kids (and now adults) are falling down. Basic mathematical skills are a thing of the past, too. I used to tutor two 11-year-olds in maths, and they didn't know their times-tables, they didn't understand the relationship between a fraction and a decimal place and a percentage - everything is calculators and laptops these days. We weren't allowed to use calculators in exams if they could do anything more than basic arithmetic. We had to use our brains, we had to understand the concepts
we were being taught - we had to actually try, and learn. Again, people think these abstract ideas are unimportant, but they're not - these are things we use daily in our lives, without even realising it.
We are, in effect, dumbing down our children, who are becoming dumbed-down adults. It's not about ability - many of the people of my generation who struggled at school are still more capable than many of the children and young adults now, because they had these concepts hammered into them and they understand the basic way things work. They were educated
. They were made to learn, they were taught the essentials of communication, the essentials of mathematics, the essentials of science, the essentials of the human sciences. What is wrong with that? Nothing. Schooling now seems to be geared more towards making sure that children feel as though we are not violating their rights in any way, rather than sitting them down and educating them, and actually making them try at anything. The three Rs...what has happened to those?
So, yes, language changes and evolves - but evolves is the key word here. What we are doing is bringing our children and ourselves back to a level of literacy not seen for hundreds of years, since colonial times and before. It's very sad.