How the Presidential Campaign Changed the English Language

Languages change over time, which is why you shouldn’t take seriously any claims about this language being older than the other, or vice versa. A language is only old in the same sense that a farmer can say, “I’ve had this axe for years. I’ve only changed the handle twice and the head three times.”

Language change is probably slowed these days by stasis-inducing factors like books. However, rapid communication means that new phrases or ways of speaking can be disseminated with lightning speed. Here is an interesting article about the effect McCain & Palin’s drill, baby, drill has had on the English language.

A Bush-administration flunkee’s unfortunate statement that reporters — but not members of the Bush administration — are members of “what we call the reality-based community” led to an interesting shift in the way Progressives speak. The compound adjective “reality-based” has become part inside joke, and part simply a new word. I suspect “real America” will similarly entrench itself in the English language.


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