A Level English Language: Summer Work for Incoming Year 13

Studying A Level Language in Year 13 next year? Here’s your summer transition work:

1. Make sure you have a copy of the AQA English Language Student Book and the Revision Workbook.

We will be making regular use of both in class next year.

The texbook is available on Amazon here, and the workbook is here.

2Watch the debate you’ll find on YouTube below. 

When you’ve watched the debate, answer the following question in the comments on this post:

Is the English language ‘going to the dogs’?

You should aim to write between 200 and 300 words, and refer to ideas presented by the speakers in the debate.


And that’s that!

If you’ve any questions over the summer, email Mr Parry-Shovlin (s.parry-shovlin@lutterworthcollege.com).

Enjoy the holiday!


  1. Jamie Rolison

    Before viewing the debate, I was strongly against the motion as I believed that language was not ‘going to the dogs’ in which I still think now. Both sides of the debate included plentiful, valid arguments which were more than plausible and agreeable. However, I stand mainly on the side of descriptivism rather than prescriptivism since we should all know that language is forever changing and developing which I personally do not see as a positive or negative adaptation. I believe language should be able to evolve just as anything else does in the universe. Yes, standard English is important to live a good quality life, to be able to be successful in a job interview senario in which I agree and say it is valuable, especially to communicate with anyone, although I think that we should not be afraid of language change as it is simply just progressing as it has done ever since words had been created. In many ways, reasons to suggest why language is changing so quickly is down to technological advancements such as the many people that social media hits out to. Giants like Twitter and Facebook must be pointed the finger at as they allow any user to right whatever they want whether it is adequate to fit ‘standard english’. In conclusion, language is something that will change no matter how many people stand against it in which I strongly believe we should all just accept.


  2. Sion Pope

    I would vote against the motion.
    By imposing standard English as the one correct form of the language, it inherently and systematically disadvantages minority forms of English, which may be used to harm the voices of minorities. African American Vernacular English is a stigmatised form of English and, thus, when an individual speaks in that form of English, they are discredited and assumed to be uneducated, so their point is not listened to which can only damage the voices of minorities. The debate seemed to be more about politics than language, being framed – especially by the outspoken John Humphrey – as a culture war between the left, or ‘politically correct’, and the right, or ‘politically incorrect, irreverent “edge-lords”’.
    The changeable morphology and syntax of English is perhaps one of its biggest strengths. It allows us to fully express and capture our emotions and thoughts in ways that may not be possible otherwise. ‘It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun’. This quote summarises Romeo’s love for Juliet, she is the centre of his world, the light of his life – note that all of these are metaphors and not totally, grammatically correct. English, for me, is a poetic language, not a structured machine. Its ability to morph and change to embrace our different and diverse experiences of reality I think is a strength. Oscar Wilde’s breath-takingly beautiful and witty use of English changed literature and the way a society interacted with the world. His witticisms still live on today and still inform our culture – ‘Sarcasm is lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence’. English is not going to the dogs; it is just doing what it is best at: candidly communicating our experience of the world and sharing it with others in such unique and beautiful ways.


  3. Bailey Kitchen

    Before viewing the debate I was strongly against the motion and I can say that my opinion has still not changed. Both sides included valid arguments for the side they were arguing but as I am someone that agrees with the view of descriptivism over prescriptivism I would therefore take the side of going against the motion. This is because I believe that language is always changing and developing. Language should be seen as anything else in the world, take humans for example, constantly adapting to survive, so why shouldn’t language be allowed to adapt and do the same. Of course from a prescriptivist point of view standard English is needed in writing a CV and other formal things but this doesn’t mean that language can’t change and adapt. Language change is not something that we can stop from happening, language has developed from the Anglo Saxon era for example and will continue to do so, in 100 years time language will have developed further and this is something that I believe we should embrace.


  4. Grace Horton

    Many valid arguments were proposed throughout this debate, however I personally think that descriptivism, as a notion itself, should be highlighted as something everybody shares agreement in. Therefore, this would lead me to disagree with the motion that is discussed in this debate. Language is something that has developed constantly over time, with words being borrowed from other countries, coined by people such as Shakespeare and enhanced through communication between each other. And although we still withhold many terms from hundreds of years ago, language is something that I think should alter and mould to fit the generation that is currently utilising it. In some regards I can understand that language needs to obtain boundaries and rules as how would we all communicate efficiently? if everyone was to start changing grammatical ways, coining their own terms and altering semantics of words, interaction between people would deteriorate and that is when the notion of prescriptivism becomes valid. However, I do not agree with the idea that that English language is ‘going to the dogs’ as the purpose of language (to communicate) is still succeeding. I think that language should continue to grow and adapt to the way in which new generations want to communicate. Otherwise, its significance may deteriorate as people can’t interact how they would choose to- which may then suggest that the English language would be ‘going to the dogs’ with a lack of descriptivism.


  5. Izzy Dorrington

    Both sides of this discussion presented valid arguments, however, after listening to the debate, I would vote against the motion. I believe that language should be able to have the chance to evolve throughout time as it has done in previous years and it should not be seen as negative. There is no ‘right’ way to use language, so many different people have contradicting rules as to what is right and wrong. Therefore, no one can be completely sure as to the correct way of using language. I agree with Oliver when he says that people should learn and know when to use the correct dialect in the correct context, as well as in the suitable locality setting. Also that there are many different forms of English. Yes, standard English should be understood and mastered by everyone, though it shouldn’t and won’t be the only form of English to be spoken. A person’s individual dialect does depend on their social class and environment of their upbringing. For example, a student that has grown up attending a private school would utilize a completely different dialect as to a student attending a state-run school. The adaptation of language has been assisted by the invention of technology and websites. Communication has become shortened and therefore more convenient to write down in a text message for example in a short amount of time. Some may call this lazy, but others may think of it as a clever way of communicating more efficiently. Overall, I disagree with the statement that the English language is ‘going to the dogs’ as it is still understood by individuals across the country.


  6. Chloe Cartwright

    I do not agree with this motion.
    Language is something that we use to express ourselves and changes along with the times and different generations. The language we speak now and how we conduct ourselves is vastly different to how it was 50 years ago, and some may say that we have more of an emphasis on education, therefore it is not about our intelligence levels. Are we focusing more on education then following the rules that are now outdated in comparison to the culture that we are in today?
    Humphry’s was going down the lines of that grammar is something that is important to allow us to communicate effectively. Grammar is merely but a tool in our arsenal to allow us to have such freedom of speech. In some cases, younger generations are creating or changing the meaning of words, allowing them to feel as if they are expressing themselves further, despite many of these sounding ridiculous. Standard English is something that is becoming less common, however people are being more susceptible to change with new terms often being added to our everyday vocabulary.
    If we were to add more rules and guidelines to our language, this would make it harder for people to follow and understand. Schools may have scrapped teaching grammar, but it is something that is required to a certain extent. Kane was talking about how people use different registers within different situations. Our ability to switch tones like this is a vital part of communication. You would not talk to your boss the way you would talk to your friend, if anything this is making our language more diverse and more suitable to how we need it in the modern day.


  7. Peter Dickinson

    Both sides of the argument provide valid and depth explanations which I can see both points of view clearly. However, the idea of language ‘going to the dogs’, in my opinion, is disagreeable. My reasoning for this stems from the society which myself, and everyone around me are currently in: a very evolving and dynamic one. Yes, without a basic understanding for grammar and the language itself life would be a challenge, but not having the ability to communicate in what is becoming a very diverse and complicated society could be seen as even more challenging, regarding social, formal and practical scenarios. The motion itself, highlights the difference between those who think there is only one applicable English language, such as Shakespeare’s, who’s fluidity and talent created a language for everyone to understand, compared to those who see the positivity in the ability to adapt to the modernisation of our language. Our language is certainly not ‘going to the dogs’ but being saved from deterioration.


  8. chloe

    My opinion on this statement regardless of the points made from the debate have not changed, I see the descriptivism side and therefore disagree with the motion as i fail to see the prescriptivism view. We are in an everchanging society with new words evolving daily and words from the past loosing meaning and importance, I see it as the english languange is broadening not ‘going to the dogs’. Over time our lnaguage has majorly improved, we went from not being able to communicate with one another, to being able to communicate using slower and louder pronounciation, to being able to create different languages which could one day communictate with one another. Although it could be argued that the english language is becoming more complex due to words taking on new meanings such as the word ‘sick’ now having multiple meanings (describing something good as well as describing something unpleasant), it could be argued that the english language was already complex and hard to follow due to homophones and the different pronunciations and spellings of these words e.g. two, to and too. Therefore if people can learn these why can’t they learn new up and coming changes to the language. The opposing view does have a point when Heffer referred to employees and rules for the perfect candidate – explaning that we need standard english and formality to be seen as the ideal candiadate; however, social media can help to contradict this as it’s used mainly for informal purposes. Many people also speak in a more informal tone nowadays due to it being more effiecient – people look for effieciency more than accuracy as they want an easier option. Grammar is only one factor of the english language, other factors such as dialect and tone have an impact on how the language is communicated. It could however be argued that the dialect and tone e.g. don’t matter when it comes to the communication of language – as long as it is structured right grammatically it shouldn’t be miscommunicated. I believe that our language is most definetly not ‘going to the dogs’, it’s broadening and changing constantly to fit the world we live in.


  9. Jessica Butler

    After watching the debate which presented two very strong opposing views, as to whether language is ‘going to the dogs’ my stand point would be that I am not in agreement with this notion, as I believe that the changes to the language are necessary additions, which reflect the current society.
    I don’t believe that language changing should be seen as a negative concept, as language has been changing and adapting since the first word was spoken. Language like anything else, including society, animals, people should evolve, with no judgement, as we humans adapt, it is natural that our language too will adapt and change to reflect society and introduction of other elements such as technology. The introduction of technology has seen the advancement of changes in the language, at a pace that some may not feel comfortable with or used to. The introduction of more words and terms illustrates the evolution of language and is a reflection of the norms and trends of the time, making it a true representation of society and culture in a particular time period. The debate discusses how conversations and words, are being shortened, which some believe diminishes and undermines the integrity of the language, I do not agree this is the case, as I believe that these adaptions, demonstrate the evolutionary progression of the language, I do however think that there is a requirement for educational and professional language etiquette to be maintained, in order to ensure that standards are upheld, the difference between every day speech and that of a more formal setting is not to be overlooked as John Humphries acknowledges the colloquialisms of a generation, should be acknowledged and appreciated but there still needs to remain a fundamental understanding and appreciation for the language.


  10. Elizabeth White

    The debate covers a range of highly contentious arguments. On the one hand, we are presented with a subliminal fear shared by a mass amount of people, particularly, as highlighted by the first speaker, those of the older generation, that a loss of Standard English and traditional values which underpin its use is sweeping generations. Accompanying this fear, perhaps, is a fear of the globalisation of English; traditionalists appear to view multiculturalist influences and new language variants (Chinglish, Singlish and the like) as a threat to traditionally practised Standard English. On the other hand, however, a view of traditional grammar and “correct” English performing as a kind of boundary on the creativity English otherwise affords is presented. This line of argument encourages the view that, by pushing boundaries and subverting tradition, we may employ and develop the English language in new and exciting ways. Such rigid “rules” we associate with the English language – sentences must contain verbs, split infinitives are sinful, punctuation must be perfect etc. – when flouted, can give way to creative explorations, therefore, I cannot agree with the view that “the English language is going to the dogs”, because without experimentation, development, and the pushing of linguistic boundaries, the language is likely to stagnate, both functionally and creatively. Such developments as euphemisms, youth-sociolect neologisms and new syntactic functions have developed alongside socio-cultural changes; without such developments in language to accompany social developments, society itself would be unable to function optimally, therefore the sacrifice of “Standard English” conventions is, I believe, entirely necessary.


  11. Gracie Bryan

    I believe that both sides of the argument have relevant comments however, I believe that language is changing constantly and is being adapted to the people who use it over time. Therefore a descriptivist perspective should be valued in society. The English language has changed dramatically over time from the introduction of everyday language by the Anglo-Saxons in 410 AD to the more adventurous language introduced by Shakespeare between 1564-1616. However, a prescriptivist view of the traditional rules is still important because if there were no rules and everyone created their own then it would be hard for people to communicate with each other. Also, standard English is still used in today’s society for things like personal statements or in a CV which shows that is is still significant. But I still don’t agree with the motion as Language is changing due to the change in time and is being adapted for those using it today.


  12. Mansi Sudra

    After watching this debate, my viewpoint on this matter has not changed, I strongly and whole-heartily vote against this motion. I, myself stand on the side of the descriptivism, rather than the prescriptivism. The world around us is constantly changing, with technology evolving, science expanding; why should the English Language not be capable of these things? We need to allow language to evolve and thus mirror our society; our morals and teachings are undeniably different from the Anglo-saxons, and they most certainly differ from the Shakespearean era; so therefore to make the English language efficient we need to allow English language to broaden to thus fit and mould every individual in each generation. With new words, coinage, being made everyday; how do we expect the English Language not to change? These new words allow the people of that generation to communicate and understand each-other. However saying this, I also see how our language maybe does need certain rules for all of us to communicate efficiently such as grammar. So therefore in conclusion, I firmly have faith in believing that English Language is most certainly not “going to the dogs” and instead is mirroring the world around us, broadening, evolving and adapting to fit the society we live in today.


  13. Charlotte Evans

    Both sides have valid and in-depth arguments of which oppose each other strongly. But while watching this debate, i would vote against the idea of prescriptivism therefore agreeing with the notion of descriptivism. Language is used in order to express ourselves. Humans are adapting constantly to new environments etc therefore, so is our language. Comparing the language we use now to language we used 50 years ago is completely different. Even as close as 20 years ago, will still see changes in the language we use as it is changing constantly. These changes may be down to various reasons including education and the way society has shaped itself over the years. While this is true, a prescriptivist view on the rules of language is still very important in order to use language correctly and accurately. Without this, there would be n o basic guidelines for a standard form of language to be met, and in conclusion, would be difficult to communicate and understand one another. Standard English is still expecting in a variety contexts today such as in CV’s, personal statements, and in job interviews. But new words are continuously being created for new generations communicate with each-other. Therefore, in conclusion, I believe the language that is used today is simply mirroring the world we live in.


  14. Ellie Beeby

    Before watching the debate, I did not think that the English language was ‘going to the dogs’ and even after it I still stand by my decision. The speakers who were in favour of the motion both made fair points but they didn’t have any solid evidence that the world is going to go into some sort of meltdown if a certain set of rules for language are not followed or implemented. However, I agreed with the majority of the things that Oliver Kamm was saying that supported his argument. I agree with Kamm’s point about changes in language creating a freer and more tolerant nation and society. I believe that ambiguity is not a bad thing to have when talking about and discussing the English language and even though the ‘sticklers’ may not tolerate it, communication can still fully function without people having to completely understand the conversations of standard English through and through. New words are continuously being created for new generations to communicate with people. I therefore believe the language that is used today is simply mirroring the world that we live in


  15. Charlie Harris

    If I were to vote I would vote against the notion that ‘English language is going to the dogs’. This is due to several factors but the key one being as with what Kamm stated, it is not just a factor of the language itself, but in fact the usage of the language and that language change permits freedom when using the english language. An argument against this however would be Heffer’s idea of grammar being a precision tool and while there may be more freedom in change, the language is still deteriorating as we’re less precise in what we say. Additionally to support the against argument Beard says how even in languages such as latin there are rules in which are followed but the language has exceptions as despite how much effort is put into maintaining these rules there will always be parts of the language that do not conform to such rules meaning its not possible for that part of the language to deteriorate as its not fitting a set standard. She also says that the rules which “are the things causing the language to do to the dogs” are not even completely decided and are argued about between linguists and therefore how can you compare a language deteriorating when we don’t fully know the rules is ‘supposed’ to follow. While huffer argues we should take aesthetic pride in our language and not let it deteriorate, I believe the way in which to execute this is to embrace such language change and the more modern English language allows people to keep up to date with both political and societies changes in views over time.


  16. Amber Blackwell

    After watching the debate, I do understand both sides of the argument, but I would vote against this motion. Our English language has changed drastically throughout the eras and generations to create our modern language. I believe that creativity should be paramount in communication and writing as it is only that which makes language such a powerful tool. The ability for a writer to be able to paint an image for the reader, simply using language, is a skill that should not be lost by a materialistic regime such as the teaching of language in France.Kane made a point about different registers for different situations and i feel that is a key part of the argument. The language is still alive and growing, evolving and changing, much like society. We couldn’t attempt to enforce order on the diversity of a country, so why should we treat the diverse nature of language with hostility?


  17. Will Emmett

    I would vote against the motion, both arguments for and against make clear and valid points but i believe that the language of today is constantly evolving and changing along with society. people who are in favour of the motion make some good points but these are outdone by arguments that language and can now be expressed in more ways then ever. i think we are in a new modern era of language vastly different from previous anglo-saxon or Shakespearean eras and it is the older generations which need to catch up and adapt to this new era. However it is true that standard English allows clearer understanding between peoples individual idiolects but i think that the wider and more diverse people language becomes can only be a good thing therefore i am against the motion that English language is going to the dogs.


  18. Evie Biggs

    Language is something that is constantly changing and being used to fit an individual purpose. After watching the debate, I have taken the side of being against the motion. As language was being introduced into societies and more people were starting to acquire it, individual choices weren’t yet able to be made and creativity lacked. this would have been due to the lack of experience with language rather than people not wanting to make their own language choices. Now language has developed and there are different types being used all over the world, people now have the ability to use language in a way that they see suitable and use it to their advantages in life. Having a prescriptivist view is still as important in today’s society as it was when the Anglo-Saxons introduced language in 600AD because there do need to be rules that are followed for people to understand what others are trying to communicate. Language etiquette needs to be taught through educational settings so that messages can be portrayed and in the correct way. John Humphries explores how formal and colloquial language cannot be changed as it is an essential part to providing differentiation across settings. Societies in 2019 encourage individuality and avoid typical followings or groups, meaning language is reflected in this way and idiolects should be encouraged, rather than being keeping to a strict, traditional outlook.


  19. Emily Olsen

    Personally I think that the English Language is not “going to to the dogs”, however, I do think that is is not as sophisticated or as productive as it used to be. Both sides of the argument gives completely valid and acceptable points, which make either side reliable to agree with. Neutrally, the English Language is always changing. Even though certain words’ connotations should change, this statement is neither positive, nor negative, and instead absolutely natural, of humans. The language as an instrument, evolves as time goes on, as does everything natural in the world. Language change has existed since we first learned how to speak and today is just another example of such.

    Regardless of both sides’ points, standard English is important (for situations such as interviews, important meetings, family get togethers etc), and I believe we should embrace such. Social media and modern day conventions just boost how quickly out language changes. Extremely popular platforms, such as Instagram for 13-35 year olds, and Facebook, for older generations that used it when MySpace closed down, are examples of how people are able to escape with not using standard English in everyday conversations, whether it be face to face or not.

    To cut it short, language will always. Because of this, I am lead to believe we should not stop it, since it is something we have been bounded to do since we started to develop language, regardless of how much slang we use in modern day dialects.


  20. Charlotte Smith

    Before watching the debate I was against the motion, and after watching it I still stand by this viewpoint. Although both arguments for and against make strong and valid points, it is clearly showed that language is now more diverse and expressed in many more ways than ever. I definitely do not agree that the english language is ‘going to the dogs’, and that it is actually improving and is becoming more diverse and friendly to many cultures. I believe that creativity should be much more important when it comes to language as it is what makes communication so powerful.


  21. Esme Whitton

    Before to watching this debate I had never really thought whether Grammar in language is important and didn’t have a clear judgement on the argument. After watching the conflicting arguments it is clear to say I would stand against the motion that the english language’ is going to the dogs’ as grammar holds a vital importance in language.

    John Humphries statement of “you can’t communicate without a basic understanding of rules” is true grammar is a learning point for the development of language. To further this idea has a prescriptivist , Matt Cobbett argues a prescriptivist view that grammar is a necessity arguing that ‘without grammar, it is impossible for you to write correctly, and it is a mere accident that you speak correctly.

    Equally does Mary Beard argues that’s “no body here is saying that there are no rules to language”, however I would say that these “rules” provide only the very basis of the English language the influence of social change develops and changes language. In addition to this Oliver Kamm’s point about the “English language is shot through with ambiguity”. Ambiguity in language allows us develop language through social change, without this I believe that without the influence of social change in language, language is stuck and it should develop around us and be influenced through time and the societies, social problems and lifestyles of the time. Change in the form of loss and gain of new words is essential in order to ensure that we continue to keep up with ever changing societies and lifestyles, it is also inevitable that this change is going to happen in society and language should reflect this. In conclusion, I do not believe that the English Language is going to the dogs, it is important for language to be influenced by its surroundings as it makes it more representative throughout its history, so I therefore stand against this argument.


  22. Caitlin Crewe

    I disagree with the idea that language is ‘going to the dogs’. By suggesting that standard language is the only correct form that everyone should base their speech upon is discriminating of minority groups. I agree more with the ideas of descriptivism rather than prescriptivism therefore disagree with the motion. Language is constantly changing therefore it is obstinate to suggest that one form is better than others. Although Standard English may be needed when writing a CV this doesn’t mean that language can’t change and adapt. Language change isn’t something we can put a stop to therefore we should embrace the changes being made as it mirrors changes in society. Language has developed from the Anglo-saxin era and will continue to change and be completely different in 100 years. This evolution of language shouldn’t be stopped and a prescriptivist attitude will halt progress and lead society to become stuck. As David Crystal said, we should be ‘swimming with the tide’ when it comes to language change as it is unpredictable and constantly reinvents itself.


  23. Adam Rowley

    Before I watched this debate, I was very open minded about whether I would be for or against the motion. I understand that our English language has changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so and therefore I assumed these people of high authority would be very aggressive towards our generation. To my surprise, they were not. Instead they highlighted the ‘issues’ within the education system, which of cause has overall control from the people they were most fond of offending… the politicians. I agreed at first with what John Humphrys said about the way politicians are ambiguous with their language, because in all truth – they are. I feel like they feel they have the power to baffle us and most of the time, we luckily recognise it. It was the behavior they had towards the rules in grammar I not disagreed with, but felt patronised by. These type of people make me feel uncomfortable. Personally I do not feel like I could say one sentence to them without getting ‘shut down’. Just like the opposing side of the panel, I believe that we shouldn’t always worry too much about getting grammar correct. Yes, it is important to respect the tradition of the English language, but the changes within society also need to be respected. Both sides of the panel brought up a range of issues with the way some people choose to speak and this was something that I also agreed with. Changing the BBC back to ‘RP’ is far too over the top, but teaching students from a young age the different dialects and registers is a skill they can take through life. English language isn’t in danger of ‘going to the dogs’, but it is in danger of becoming less formative. The amount of people in the end who voted ‘for’, surprised me. I would like to think that the audience weren’t as discriminating as that, but it seems our society isn’t as left wing as I had hoped. This was proven from the EU referendum not too long ago anyway. There is a lot of things that can be discussed from the debate, as it is so long and so many things were spoken about, however I only have 200-300 words to express my own opinion. So here it is; the decision for the motion or against the motion, if it were left to me would be against. It is complicated though. I believe that everyone living in England or anyone living in an English speaking country should have the ability to change and adapt their language to fit into other environments. Understanding linguistic conventions is extremely important and is becoming more and more important everyday as new communities and new bulks of vocabulary are being formed. We are becoming more diverse and multicultural as a society. We promote the anti discrimination laws and equality and with the rise of a new generation forming it is important know exactly how to work with the beautiful and dynamic structures of our very own English language.


  24. Stephanie Fleming

    Previous to watching this debate, I held the belief that the language used today and further into the future will not be ‘going to the dogs.’ Humans adapt constantly and will continue to do so in order to suit their environment and their viewpoints; therefore i hold a descriptivist view. There should not be specified rules to follow as language can and will vary in its use and continue to change, so rules will not always apply to the advancement in languages. Oliver Kamm expresses in the video how age is “Fundamental to this debate,” implying how society has “complex, grammatical instructions” which are followed in differentiating ways strongly dependent on age. The fundamental subconscious rules of language followed by a society can be seen as being intolerant towards slang and language used by a younger society today. The language used by teenagers is not necessarily incorrect as it is easily understood by those of the same age group. Previous generations struggle to understand the complexity of the advancement of language used as a result of the language they were taught when they were young so therefore, the way we communicate is not in accordance to the standards and rules they have grown up with and absorbed as factual in terms of communication so the “waves of change” in the language used today are somewhat incorrect. This is why I believe that prescriptivism is impacted by age and the change in society, therefore the rules that are meant to be followed cannot be implied to the current change in how language is used. The english language is not ‘going to the dogs’ as it is simply changing in order to fit the change in the world and different generations will always view this debate differently based on pre-determined factors of how language should have been used during these different times in the evolution of humanity and human life.


  25. Daisy Baker

    Prior to watching this debate I strongly believed that language was continuously evolving and adapting, for the better, to fit the environment we live in today. I did however have a view that people of higher authority would hold a prescriptive view on language and argue that it was ‘going to the dogs’. During the debate, both speakers made fair point with reasoning as to why they believed language was or wasn’t going to the dogs. Oliver Kamm’s speech did make a very convincing argument especially when he stated that if there was an obvious right body of language, we’d all be taught from the same style manual. This made me confident that the English language has not gone to the dogs and that there isn’t one right answer to language. Having watched the debate, Mary Beard’s argument stood out to me as her view was that the rules we have in language enable us to break them therefore language is still evolving and changing often.

    The idea that Twitter is another reason language is considered as ‘going to the dogs’ seems absurd to me. Social media such as Twitter is a creative platform which allows people to communicate in a ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ manner.

    Overall, I believe language is not going to the dogs and I support the descriptivist view that it is forever evolving and adapting.


  26. jearp05

    After watching the debate, I have come the conclusion that I disagree with the statement and believe that the English Language is not ‘going to the dogs’. Language is always evolving to fit the desires of society, whether it is for an invention, or a new meaning of a word constructed by a new generation. Both arguments have validity, however, speakers for the motion believe that language shouldn’t change or evolve. This is shown by journalist of the Daily Mail Simon Heffer, he believes other countries have more passion for their language and therefore are stricter when people try to learn their language and try to change how a sentence is structured and that we as an English-speaking country should therefore be as strict as other countries with our language. He believes that as we romanticise other countries for example how “France have better looking women”. But with this point of view, we therefore wouldn’t have the language we need to function in society to the ability we need to. I agree with Oliver Kamm’s statement that the English-speaking work has “hugely expanded” over the last century and there is more non-native speaker than native speakers of the English language. With this being said, there is going to be development of the English language from non-native speakers to make it easier for them to learn, however, people like Heffer want a golden society that never existed meaning that they don’t want any adaptations happening to the language and that they want the rules of the language to stay the same. I believe that the adaptations in the language made from non-native speakers are important in developing a language that is assessable to everyone and therefore that the english language isn’t going ‘to the dogs’.


  27. Ben Harvey

    Before I watched this debate, I thought that Language was always evolving due to everything around us changing. So this would lead to new words being used and older words not being used as commonly. However I did believe that older people in the Generation wouldn’t like change in the Language and would hold their prescriptivist view on language changing. In this debate I saw several different reasons given by the different people who’s views were different as with Simon Heffer, who was for language going to the dogs, believed that language should be able to change however we should use the English language tool properly. Simon gave examples from other European countries such as France when he stated that “Other countries have rules in their language e.g. the French are Very peculiar about it.” and that’s why should English Language not be the same as other European Countries. Compare to Oliver Kamm’s speech ,who is against that Language is going to the dogs, and believes that Language is the ability to discuss ideas and that everyone has a language instinct and that if you are a native Language speaker you don’t need to learn grammar as they have a language instinct. Also Oliver states that “if there was an obvious body of rules, then their would be one style everyone would be taught but there is not”. This is why I believe that English is not going to the dogs and that language will always keep evolving around what is happening in the world today as I agree with what Oliver stated that “English Language is a river”.


  28. Shay Etteridge

    Both prior to and after watching this debate I disagreed with the notion that the English language is ‘going to the dogs’ and instead believe that English is a constantly evolving language that changes to best suit the needs and convenience of the population that speak it, allowing them to communicate more effectively rather than less. I think the panellists who agreed with the notion were rather hypocritical in their arguments, often agreeing along the lines that ‘of course language changes’ before arguing that it never should. They also neglect the fact that English has always changed and evolved in a similar manner, only perhaps slower and less noticeably before methods of instant global communication became widespread. Hence, it could be argued that to prevent the continued evolution of the language would be to change the nature of it as a living language, rather than to preserve it which is done through continuing to adapt it.

    I also think that Oliver makes a very important distinction that the so-called ‘rules’ of the English language are actually just conventions that are generally agreed upon, and can therefore be changed when the population changes what they generally agree on. This is particularly important considering the globalisation of English since it now spoken by more people as a second language than as a native language, alongside increasingly diverse groups of native English speakers. This means that different groups of English speakers follow different conventions including varied vocabulary and grammar. Hence, labelling one variety of English as ‘proper’ or ‘correct’ implies that the group of speakers who use that variety are inherently superior, morally or intellectually, to other speakers. This mindset and teaching leads inevitably to rigidity and prejudice regarding the groups who use other varieties of English, although it can be argued this is a cycle which began with prejudice.

    Such varied use also means that the rigidity of English can not be compared to that of other languages, like French, as Simon attempts to. Nor should this rigidity be aspired to, as he suggests, simply because it exists in other languages, let alone the reality that these other languages are not as rigid as they appear through anecdotal interactions like the one Simon describes (which may be had with reversed roles in a different situation) and experience change and variety themselves – such as the differences between European French and Canadian French.


  29. Lewis Brown

    Previous to watching this debate, I was strongly against the motion and believed language was not “going to the dogs”. I still withstand my view and the debate did not cease to change my mind however the arguments put up were interesting to me in the sense and proved to me that the older generation lack so much imagination when it come to language conventions.

    I strongly believe to get somewhere in life and to withhold a job or stay in education in any day and age, you should at least know the convention of standard language In order for you to write it and speak it where necessary. This was also an argument made by kamm where he stated its “important that children are taught conventions of English language”.

    I hold a descriptivist view in this debate which in sense means that I accept that language is constantly changing and adapting and I believe that is magnificent as the younger generation of society can invent “slang” though it can become part of our English language. Kamm states “English language is like a river” which is a quote worth remembering, the fact a language can be thought of as consistently flowing and the only thing to stop a river is a man-made object such as a dam is representative to me as the older generation attempting to stop the change.

    Although I am against the motion humphreys made a point on “verbs cement meaning”, he spoke about an old speech made on the BBC where the majority of the sentences included verbs which meant to the population watching the media they didn’t see past that and just automatically believed what was happening without a second thought.

    In my opinion, age and society are the biggest impact in this debate. Teenagers of this age could have a conversation with no ends of slang and new terms which may be “trending” at the time however what is so brilliant is that these teenagers know exactly what they are talking about whereas the older generation such as Heffer and Humphreys would not understand the language and immediately assume that language is “going to the dogs” due my previous statement of this older generation lacking imagination. They are so stuck in their old ways yet can’t stop the inevitable, ironic really.


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