Originally Posted by Rich-n-Linda
I absolutely hate how our language is being destroyed because we no longer teach proper English to our children. Today it's all text message shorthand or just plain ignorance about the use of proper English. Very sad...
As a former high school English teacher, I’ll have to take partial responsibility for some of the interesting things said in this thread.
First, the OP’s “I seen” / “I saw” issue. This is a question of usage
and not, strictly speaking, grammar
is a set of rules people make to separate socially acceptable grammatical sentences from others that are not socially acceptable — or “standard English
”. In America this means rules created by white, middle class, educated people. For example, during many job interviews, it’s probably in your best interest to speak (and write) using standard English.
However, when you’re talking with friends or writing an email to your sister, the English you use will probably be a lot less "standard".
In short, you adjust the English you use to fit your social context.
ain’t the same as usage. Grammar has more to do with the structure of English, like word/phrase order. For example, consider how Yoda from Star Wars speaks . . .
Yoda speak: Help you I can, yes.
Normal grammar: Yes, I can help you.
Yoda speak: Always in motion is the future.
Normal grammar: The future is always in motion.
Normal grammar is usually Subject (“future”) - Verb (“is”) - Object (“motion”).
Yoda-speak works like this: Object (“motion”) - Verb (“is”) - Subject (“future”).
Yoda’s English usage
is fine, but his English grammar
To me the acid test of using any language, written or spoken, is do you understand the speaker? I’m pretty sure I would understand someone using “I seen” instead of “I saw” . . . and I also understand Yoda.
Finally, English is a dynamic, living language. To me, it’s like the Borg of languages — it assimilates everything and is continually changing.