The fundamental reason behind
language change is social and political pressures. English language has changed
in many ways over the years. Linguists and English authors have studied
language change and written several articles on the topic. In the readings
“150th Anniversary: 1851-2001; So Here’s what’s happening to Language” by Jack
Rosenthal and “After Donald Trump Said It, How News Outlets Handled It” by
Michael Grynbaum similar viewpoints are expressed towards language change.
Therefore, this paper provides an analysis of the relationship between these
two documents and shows how the ideas made in one document are relevant to the
other. The paper also provides a description of the connection between the two
texts and highlights on the limitations that may exist when applying the
arguments of one author to the ideas of the other.
The two texts connect in their
discussion on matters of vulgarities that spoken word raises. Rosenthal and
Grynbaum note that the change in language is even affecting the speech of our
leaders. They describe Presidents who have used vulgar language in their speech
both in public and in their private meetings. In the reading “150th
Anniversary: 1851-2001; So Here’s what’s happening to Language”, Rosenthal
notes that the present dominance of spoken word overwritten is a contributing
factor for “Presidents to shrink from orotund oratory.” He noted that President
Nixon had used vulgar language that were recorded on the White House tapes. This is similar to what Grynbaum notes in the
speech of President Trump. In his reading, Michael describes that President
Trump had used a word that even the television network ABC could not repeat.
The president had used the term “shit-hole” to refer to Haiti and African
Both the authors share the idea of
respecting the importance of standards in a language when addressing people of
different age groups and race. Rosenthal describes considerations that should
be made when printing a family newspaper. Newspapers that are read by children
should avoid all forms of vulgar language. The author gives the example of
President Nixon and notes that the vulgarities identified in the President’s
spoken word were printed in the transcript but not in the newspapers.
Similarly, Grynbaum describes language standards at the New York Times in his
article. He notes that the Times magazine omitted vulgarities in the headlines
of its paper despite being required to directly quote a language because
paraphrasing made the meaning of the message unclear.
Media outlets should not be the
sources of profanity but rather the source of new information and inspiration.
This is an argument that the authors of both the article seem to agree on. The
relationship between the two texts is depicted in their acknowledgment that it
is difficult for the leading media outlets to publish or read out to the public
content that is expletive or includes profanity. In his text, Rosenthal notes
that The Times nearly never prints vulgar or obscene words. Grynbaum seems to
be on the same pages with Rosenthal. He notes that such media outlets find a
censored version of such words and thus never print such expletive words.
Arguments made in the text by
Rosenthal are relevant to the ideas found in the text by Grynbaum. Rosenthal
argues that informalization has changed the meaning of some words. He suggests
that spoken word has contributed to the use of the unusual amount of profanity
in today’s society. He further notes that words once considered dirty are now a
regular part of people’s vocabulary. This is relevant to the idea of media
outlets allowing the use of the vulgar word “shithole” on air and publications
following the incident where President Trump had used the word to refer to
African countries. Allowing profanity on a media network watched by families
may encourage the use of such words by children.
Applying some arguments of one
author to the ideas of the other author may have some limitations. A perfect
example is the argument by Rosenthal of establishing rules to guide written
language. It is difficult to apply these rules (standards) of written language
in the ideas by Grynbaum given that media outlets allow profanity based on what
the President said. This suggests that it will be difficult for media houses or
other publishers to abide by rules if leaders keep using profanity in their
speech. This is the same concept of parenthood where the parents are required
to set a good example for their children if there is any hope of raising them
right. Difficulty in applying these rules is strengthened even further with the
advances in technologies and thus more use of profanity in movies and
In conclusion, it is clear that a
problem exists when it comes to the spoken word. In the readings 150th
Anniversary: 1851-2001; So Here’s what’s happening to Language” and “After
Donald Trump Said It, How News Outlets Handled It,” profanity by our leaders
and non-adherence to standards by media houses are the critical issues. The
authors discuss similar problems although they share different ideas in some
aspects. Both Rosenthal and Grynbaum agree that the ascendency of the spoken
word has affected language and culture, but this may not be all a bad thing.