‘'Why you ain't, Where you is, What he drive, Where he stay, Where he work, Who you be...' Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth. In fact, you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.’ This statement made by the world-renowned comedian, Bill Cosby, illustrates the undeniable influence pop culture has had on today’s language. English has slipped down a steady slope from strict grammar and spelling rules to incomprehensible phrases. We see this growing decline of our language in the music that infiltrates public places and in popular television series.
The music industry has been one of the main culprits in the deterioration of the English language. It seems that they take every opportunity to play the rebel and defy the rules of grammar. T, to the A, to the S-T-E-Y, girl, you tasty. Well done, Fergie, for causing a whole generation of kids to misspell the word ‘tasty’. Pop music has definitely promoted the incorrect usage of grammar. We hear it every time we plug in our iPods or turn on the radio. We are bombarded by the nonsense lyrics of rappers, who make it seem cool to speak in slang and disregard grammatical constraints. Young people follow these influences, creating a generation of perfectly well-educated people purposefully sounding like imbeciles. Furthermore, pop songs are no longer expressions of poetry. In 1960, the top ten songs of that year consisted of the poignant lyrics of Ray Charles’ ‘Georgia on my Mind’ and Johnny Tillotson’s ‘Poetry in Motion’. While in comparison, the top ten songs 50 years later in 2010 comprised of Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ and Usher’s ‘O.M.G.’, and let’s not of course, forget the lyrical genius of Rebecca Black’s, ‘Friday’. Song lyrics are no longer musical poetry, but rather a form of shallow, insipid nonsense. This blatant degradation of the English language influences people everywhere, appearing in all aspects and facets of life.
Likewise, we see a culture of television stars conforming to the growing trend of language depreciation. However, this fact is even more frightening as it directly affects the youth. If you tune into Cartoon Network today, you will notice a complete language evolution that has occurred over the past 10 years. A friend of my mother’s actually had to send her Cartoon Network-obsessed nine year old son into speech therapy as he developed a prominent American accent and wouldn’t stop using phrases such as ‘y’all’ and ‘ain’t’.
We don’t even need music or TV to hear how steadily English is declining. Just listen to your friends. How many times do they use the words ‘like’ and ‘awesome’? It seems that not only has grammar gone out the window, but also variation of vocabulary has decreased enormously. Is this something we need to be alarmed about? Or is it merely a new form of the English language that is in the process of developing? I guess it is just something y’all will have to decide.