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Why and how the Russian language will change in a generation or two
Why and how the Russian language will change in a generation or two
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They like to compare the language with a living organism - it grows in the same way and changes throughout its life. And we are talking not only about a large number of borrowings and neologism. Word usage, word coordination, sentence construction are changing. Here are some of the changes that are coming in the future, judging by the spoken and written language of people under the age of thirty - those who actually shape the language of tomorrow.

What

For centuries in the Russian language they said: “I said that,” “I understood that,” “I saw that,” and so on, but the younger generations, as a rule - that is, not in exceptional cases - will definitely say all the same through “that, what ":" proved that "," thought that "," decided what. " Although to older generations it seems redundant and ugly, the language has already made its choice and very soon this very construction will become literary - everything is heading towards that.

Where did the continuous “that” come from after the verbs, which always required a simple “what”? There is a version that the matter is in the online translator: it was he who translated the phrases, inserting by default “what” instead of “what”. As a result, the children were inundated with a large number of texts made through a translator, which taught them to incorrectly agree.

Painting by Nikolai Belyaev
Painting by Nikolai Belyaev

Agreements will also become "illiterate"

In the Russian language there are many similar expressions, which, however, end with different prepositions, and they are already being actively confused. For example, “in view of (that)” and “in connection with (that)” can easily merge into the illiterate “in connection with (that)”. This is due to the fact that new generations rarely read well-edited texts: news and amateur literature are often published without professional “combing”, and the literature of past centuries is of little interest to young people and makes up a very small part of the huge volume of text that they process every day.

Philologists also note that new generations of native speakers have consistently preferred prepositional constructs to non-sentence prepositions and often add prepositions where they were never needed. The instrumental case (for example, "preoccupation with something") is often replaced by a construction with the preposition "o" ("concern about something").

While in places the expressions are “lengthened” by the addition of unnecessary prepositions or the construction “that”, in other places they have been shortened for a long time and steadily. For example, instead of "about an incident," modern man would prefer to say "after an incident," instead of "such as", simply "type," and so on.

Painting by Larisa Lukonina-Ovichnnikova
Painting by Larisa Lukonina-Ovichnnikova

Chancellery

For two centuries, writers and editors fought with bureaucrats in speech and lost. Bureaucracy has become too large a part of our life, which means that its specific, peculiarly neutral language has entered our speech. Purely bureaucratic turns are ubiquitous in romance novels (yes, even in the hottest scenes), in communication between parents and children, and so on.

First of all, this means that the number of verbs (that is, words denoting actions) in speech decreases and the number of nouns increases. This makes speech less dynamic. Some psychologists believe that this is how a defense against the frightening speed of modern life works: at least they try to slow it down with speech.

Painting by Philip Kubarev
Painting by Philip Kubarev

The form of the comparative and superlative degree dies off

People more and more often say “more beautiful”, “longer”, “more interesting” instead of “more beautiful”, “longer”, “more interesting” - and in the same spirit with all adjectives. The superlative form is also used extremely rarely. Instead of “the best”, “the stupidest”, “the simplest”, in almost a hundred percent of cases, a modern native speaker will use a construction with the word “most”: “the best”, “the stupidest”, “the simplest”.

The urge to denote comparative and superlative degrees with the words “more” and “most” also gives rise to reservations like “better” when more modern and classical forms of comparison collide.

Painting by Irina Shevandronova
Painting by Irina Shevandronova

Feminitives

In the twentieth century, feminitives for professions were declared unacceptable vernacular, which was fought at all levels of speech, including colloquial. The Russian language, however, did not give up: since there are genders in it for almost all words denoting people, it is difficult for a speaker without great cultural pressure to build in the idea that only professions cannot change by gender. So there were "cashiers", "trainers", "lawyers" and "enemies" quietly - despite all the struggle with them.

In the twenty-first century, discussions with feminists, love for the old forms of the Russian language (in which feminitives were the norm) and a large number of texts not edited by literary standards led to the fact that "vernacular" feminists received a new chance in the journalistic and literary space. Now you can open a book in which demonesses, vampires and deputies act, or read a biography of an anthropologist or science fiction in a large glossy edition with good editors. In this respect, the language turned out to be surprisingly conservative and soon, apparently, the use of feminitives will cease to amaze and jar anyone.

Painting by Pavel Chernov
Painting by Pavel Chernov

Many "old" words will return to speech

Just as interest in pre-Christian times gave the Russian language at the beginning of the nineteenth century a multitude of Church Slavonic and pseudo-Old Slavonic words, names and phrases, so popular projects of our time - such as "The Suffering Middle Ages" and especially "Pre-Revolutionary Counselor" - revive interest in the outdated vocabulary. For example, in the nineties the word "very" was used by not so many people - now it is used by teenagers with a wide variety of hobbies and lifestyles.

Such a constant - but partial - return to the past of the language probably provides a sense of its continuity, historical continuity in relation to ancestors and therefore is constantly in demand, especially in a country that has gone through many turbulent turns and historical breaks in a row.

Painting by Mikhail Pushny
Painting by Mikhail Pushny

Errata and abbreviations

As the abbreviations of phrases (like “thank you” instead of “thank God”) were once included in literary speech, having mastered colloquialism, this will continue to happen. It is difficult to guess which deliberately (for an ironic effect) erroneous forms of words and abbreviations will become the norm of tomorrow: "shtosh" instead of "well", or "godlike" instead of "divine", or "wow" instead of "in general"? In any case, this is inevitable.

Word usage

The use of certain words in the twentieth century would have puzzled a member of the nineteenth century. For example, “obligatory” means “inevitable,” but by no means “polite”; exact”, and“probably”in the sense of“maybe; it seems”, and not in the meaning of“know for sure”.

Likewise, the ubiquitous use of words in the twenty-first century differently than in the twentieth, provokes sorrowful cries from the older generation - but, most likely, after a generation it will become the norm. For example, the word "negligee" means "naked" and not "dressed in underwear"; “Supposedly” in the neutral sense “according to the words of such and such”, and not “according to words that are hard to believe”; "Hard-hitting" as a synonym for the expression "unpleasant, but frankly expressed" instead of "said without attempts to flatter"; “Loyal” is increasingly used as an analogue of the word “condescending, friendly” instead of “faithful, faithful”, “painting” supplants “signature”, and so on.

The emotional coloring of such definitions of a person as "black" and "black" (which seems rude and offensive to a generation over thirty - and for children are already neutral) will definitely change, and the word "n … gr" (which literally translates to "black") will finally cease to be associated with the old names of races and become attached to American slang rudeness.

It turns out that the change in language is only partially associated with the spread of illiteracy due to the small share of literary text among all texts that are read by young people - basically, we see either the continuation of the usual processes of changing the language, or the impact on the language of globalization and the current political agenda (however, as before).

All these changes are now being actively discussed on the Internet. Struggle for the Russian language: Who needs feminitives and why, and how is it right - a doctor or a doctor.

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