In America, we speak one of the most complex languages in the world. We use it when we pick up the telephone. We use it when we send an email message. We use it when we write a letter.
We were left speechless before Alexander Graham Bell wanted to say “Ahoy!” when a phone was answered. That greeting flopped, but Thomas Edison made “Hello” famous — it had been a rare variant of hollo and hallo.
Sometimes it’s as sweet as some oven-baked cookies when we hear the person on the other end say hello today. English is also the originator of other languages that are spoken by immigrants, such as Hinglish and Ebonics.
We added twerk to our English dictionaries to tweak our English lexicon for dirty dancing. We added bling to our dictionaries to give another colloquial word for our glistening jewelry. Still, we have people called professional pundits who call Muslims and other people who wear head dressings ragheads.
The term pundit, of course, derived from a Hindi word. Whoa, who are the “learned ones” now?
Then we “import” safari from Swahili and put our full undivided attention on removing many of the vital resources from the countries that tend to speak it most frequently. Gosh, sometimes the Hindi word thuggery does apply to us.
Proper English cannot be defined in absolutist terms; or as a legal scholar would say, strict textualist terms. Languages, technology and people adapt and advance at all times. There will always be new words to English regardless of whether we define ourselves as prescriptivists, descriptivists or moderates.
We must accept those expressions as newcomers to our language and not spurn those who wish to be English speakers. We shouldn’t step on each other’s feet when people are trying to be part of the illustrious American winning culture.
That would be wack.
Jordan Thomas Cooper is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina. He is the first African-American to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor’s office as an aide in South Carolina and has worked on several Republican candidates’ national campaigns. He is also the second and youngest black speechwriter for a presidential campaign.