George Orwell predicted a new social order by 1984 in his book of the same name. What trends do we see now in language that may or may not (as the coming and going of the year 1984 so attest) affect English?
Nightmare on Atlantis IV
Eve waked one night and clinged to the side of the capsule that was her bed.
She dreamed that a nanospider had creeped under the ceramic fiber cover.
Cautiously she kneeled down and hided under the capsule.
After a moment she dived for the open portal and fleed down the corridor of the space shuttle.
Oh, the horror you say! Will language change have gone too far by then? Each sentence above has two verbs: the first ones are alternative forms currently recognized by at least one English dictionary; the second, regularized versions of a (currently) irregular verb. There are other perfectly good analogous forms for creep and flee: beeped, bleeped, cheeped, peeped, seeped, steeped and agreed, decreed, freed, kneed, teed (off or up), tee-heed, treed.
In fact, some of you may still react with discomfort to the accepted alternatives shown above. After all, aren’t woke, dreamt, knelt and dove perfectly satisfactory and what about clung, crept, hid and fled?
How far will the regularization of English go? In some cases though the reverse is true; the regular form has lost out to an irregular one.
Like the above passage, many of us will find these language changes a bit of a nightmare, but change cannot be stopped as long as we keep talking and we keep using language. Here at Tansa we have to monitor changes at the national, regional and local levels to keep in step with current trends at all times.
The year may not be 2084, and it won’t happen all at once, in fact some will happen relatively soon. The one stable constant we can count on however is change.
PS Apologies to non-U.S. English speakers — several are more common in the U.S. now, but keep your eye on Oxford!