Culture is always either dynamic or dead. Even if culture is dying, it's changing, so it's dynamic. Consequently, as one system of cultural symbolism, language is also dynamic. I suspect, although it's been years since my last linguistics class so I might be wrong, that we can gauge the rate of cultural change by the rate of language change. It's easy to ascribe the current state of American English to technology -- the availability and use of e-mail, instant messaging, phone texting, twitter (gag), and so on. Personally, I really dislike the now-accepted and constant use of abbreviations and numbers-for-words and so forth in on-the-fly messages that are supposed to pass for communication. Okay, sometimes I use them, but I feel ashamed when I do, so then I feel better. See how easy I am?
- "like" There are, like, way too many times that, like, this little word with real comparative utility, like, gets thrown into sentences in, like, ways that make the speaker sound, like, really dumb. It's been made fun of for years on Saturday Night Live and yet people keep, like, using it.
- "amazing" If everything is amazing then nothing is amazing. Kindly limit the use of superlatives (look it up) to situations that are, in fact, amazing.
- "ohmygod" and it's relative "ohmygosh," which seems to be favored by people not wanting to break the third commandment. Firstly, these are three words, not one. Secondly, reacting to everything one encounters as though it requires personal communication with the Almighty -- or to whomever Gosh might be -- might actually be a violation of the third commandment. By the way, I sometimes use the second version, although I have no clue as to the identity or potential deity of Gosh.
- "him and I's" and "her and I's" If I should develop an aneurysm and it should burst, you may blame it on this one. "I" CANNOT be made into a possessive. "She and I" might own that car, but if she sells her part to me, it is mine, NOT I's. My sweetheart can vouch for the fact that, even though I know they can't hear me, I LOUDLY correct every person on TV who uses one of those phrases. "Her and I's date tonight was amazing." AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH . . . . . .
- "I mean" at the beginning of a sentence. As in someone asks a question and the responder begins his/her response by saying, "I mean . . . ," even though the question was not about someone's or something's meaning. This is a new form of "ummmm," a filler sound with no meaning that takes up time when one doesn't know what to say. I'm a big ummm-er, unfortunately.
- "Seriously" Seriously, folks, the rampant use of this word might have spread from Gray's Anatomy, or perhaps it got included in their scripts because it was already rampant. I also, unwittingly, found a place for this one in my vocabulary. Getting rid of it is about as hard for me as stopping nail biting. Seriously.