How about the fact that historically English only rose to power so to speak by taking on the advancements of more logical syntax and greater vocabulary based on the structures of Greek and Latin? Before that, French was the major language.Shirasagi wrote:
The (I guess too subtle) point of my "thou" post is that people only care about language change when it's happening during their life time. In Old English "show" meant "to look at" (cf. Modern German "schauen"). Here you have every English speaker using the word "wrong", but no one cares because the shift happened before they were born.
On the other hand, "irregardless" is perfectly good English, if looked at historically. The double-negative used for emphasis has been part of English far as long as we call it "English". The scholars with their hard-ons for Latin back in the 18th century (particularly Lowth) are the ones who decided it was not "good" English. Even though it was good enough for Chaucer! Happily, while they were able to stigmatize the double-negative, it's too much part of the language to be stamped out.
The true test of a word or phrase is if it clearly relays meaning in idiomatic use. And "irregardless" passes that test. "Purists" may grumble, but no one who hears it interprets it as "regardful".
Sure people will be able to guess what you meant from context, even as ignorant as they might be... but it doesn't make it "correct", it simply makes it functional for the layman, who from my observation, only uses this word out of ignorance when they're trying to make themselves sound smart.
It still fails the test of efficient exchange of information through adherence to a logical structure and set of syntactical rules. Sure, the boys in the hood can understand their own basic slang talk... but when it comes to the exchange of more complex ideas, they are forced to either step up to more advanced language or completely fail in the attempt. Or for instance, clear communication between disparate groups etc.
It's an analogy to poor user interface design. Sure you can learn to use it and even be efficient at it, but it doesn't make it good or correct. We are adaptive, and our ability to still understand what someone is saying, even when they say something wrong, is a testament to that ability. It still doesn't make it correct or optimal. It simply means that when you say "I ain't got no teef.", odds are I'll know that you're an uneducated hick with no teeth. But I'll also know in my head that what you actually meant was "I don't have any teeth."
It's like when people say "that's bad!" or "that's sick!" when they mean something is good or very good. Even though it makes no sense, and would likely confuse the hell out of someone who hadn't heard it before... it's like the bad user interface... eventually you learn what it means in a given context and you mentally adjust for the illogical behavior/phrase.