The November 16, 1920 edition of the Spokane Daily Chronicle reports on a disturbing trend: University of Idaho undergraduates “intent on murdering their mother tongue.” I suppose the difference between then and and now is that, according to the statistics compiled at the time, freshmen accounted for four times the number of “derelictions” recorded, leading one to conclude that an education might actually make a difference.
A hundred years later, though, adults who ought to know better use reference and impact and transition as verbs while insisting that FBI is an acronym and ask is a noun. And, of course, who think that listing their favorite IPAs on Instagram is “curating.”
So, yeah, the mother tongue is dead. It’s bleeding demised. It’s passed on. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.