Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The death of English inflection

We all know that English inflection has been decreasing for a very long time. I suggest that it is arguably in its death throes. In particular, I believe that the confusion surrounding number concord is either caused by or causing a change in perception (for British English speakers, at least), such that number concord just doesn't seem that important any more. I would argue that there are so few situations where number concord actually performs any function (in terms of disambiguation or conveying meaning) that the grammatical rule is no longer important enough for most speakers to bother.


  1. Another inflection-type that seems to be regularly confused is the -al suffix on words such as and . Students discuss 'the economical situation in medieval England', meaning economic, and state that Latin and Greek are classic (or Classic) languages.

  2. In posting my last comment, the words 'economic' and 'classic' seem to have been deleted because I wrapped them in more-than, less-than symbols!