Monday, 29 June 2015

Discussions--Series 9--ELT Professionals Around the World

Please read Post 68 and then come back here. Thank you.

Discussions—Series Nine

Topic 46
The death of the past participle Manager's Choice
David Deubelbeiss Assistant Professor, Nipissing University. Technology Consultant / Entrepreneur Top Contributor
Since I've come back to Canada (been back now 3 years), I've been so surprised by one major change in the English language in this part of the world. The past particple is dying.

Especially with young people, they don't seem to use it at all. Except for been..

I spent the afternoon working with the TV and tennis on in the background. Kept noting how even the educated commentators said things like, "If he had ate during the break ...." or "He should have went for the backhand" etc ....

What about your part of the world, is the past participle dying? Does anyone even notice these things silently dying before us?

You, blue blooded and 6 others like this

English Faculty at Higher Colleges of Technology-CERT
No worries David , it's just a lingua franca for communication in sport (used in your comment by the educated commentators )

As for the young people , I think they prefer using the past simple instead of the present perfect 'I saw the film' short and sweet instead of 'I have seen the film' .

Where I'm the past participle is doing fine, thanks to the traditional grammar teacher who makes students memorize long list of regular and irregular past participle / 3rd column ( visited, seen , written , spoken etc.. . In the test, everyone gets it right , but I can't guarantee they will use it for communication.

EFL/ESL Senior Instructor/ESL Department Manager/Curriculum Writer/Teacher Trainer
David, I'm not a native speaker of English, but I've been surrounded by native speakers more than half of my life, by both English teachers and others, lived in England, the US, and Canada, watch the BBC and several US TV channels evert day (news, movies, etc.), but have never heard utterances of the kind you mentioned. Of course in substandard dialects of English one can hear them, but I do not think the past participle is disappearing. There are other examples of "deviance" from the standard form, such as the use of the simple past instead of the present perfect with "just" or "recently" (acceptable in US spoken English). I believe in language change because it is inevitable in any language, but I hope the examples you gave will never be a part of it.
Ibtihaj M.mia khalifa and 3 others like this

mia - yep, I expect the PP to be well and alive in the classroom. I'm just wondering if that is a kind of life support system :)

Mokhtar. These are normal comments and especially listening to teenagers, not often is the PP heard. This along with "verbing" and making a noun into a verb are two big changes that I've noticed.

Could it be that even if they are native speakers, your own speech community is a. older b. well traveled and living / influenced by time abroad? I know with myself, I'm still naturally very fond of the PP but find myself at times saying things like "I have dreamed a lot recently" or "I haven't took the bus in a long time." Here in Canada, nobody would blink if I said these ....
mia khalifa likes this

English Language Trainer -“We breathe in our first language, and swim in our second.”
Top Contributor
I have heard native speakers use 'have+Past Simple' quite a lot recently, and I thought: just how unfair it is... they get away with it, but in EFL classrooms it will be considered a no-no for quite a while :)
Anyhow, sooner or later we'll have to talk about it with the students... I wonder how fast this phenomenon will spread and how common it will become.
Thendral S.mia khalifa like this

Professor of TESOL at Ewha Womans University
It might be the Ontario-Michigan region dialect in particular. It has a lot of interesting admixtures. I read a paper on the effect of Mennonite low German from the Kitchener-Waterloo area. In the North East there is a strong Quebecois French influence and in the south west and Michigan there is AAVE (African American Vernacular English) from the rust belt. All of these could have an effect on the use of pp. Also, Ontario and all of Canada is experiencing a huge immigration influx, the largest since the 19th century. With large numbers of second language speakers complex and irregular grammatical forms are going to be dropped or used less. This will affect the speech of native speakers, especially young ones.

When i lived in California, I remember everyone asking me if I was from Michigan. It seems our regional dialect is quite distinctive to them. Friends from other parts of Canada and even Toronto can tell I'm from rural Ontario. Whenever I visit back home now I pick up on it too, and the reduced use of pp and perfect tenses is one of the things that stands out.
Melinda Makkosmia khalifa and 1 other like this

Actually, it kind of highlights Jennifer Jenkins ELF, there is no "English" just many "Englishes". Each develops in its own way.
mia khalifa likes this

English language instructor
as far as i know, in Iran, this sort of pp disappearing is more common among beginner language learners although it could also b seen among advance learners. something that is also noticing hear is changing a noun into a verb or vice versa. i suppose change is inevitable in a language therefore its not that unfair (dear Melinda) because this is the way all languages have gone.

I know, Akram, I was only joking :)

Native speakers have all the right to change their language any way they feel it appropriate. I love the fact that languages are constantly changing...

On the other hand, learners should try to follow the standard use, otherwise there would be far too many varieties making English unsuitable for international communication.
That is to say, until 'have+Past Simple' becomes a widely accepted, standard form, I don't think our students should use it.

you're absolutely right Melinda. this is worth mentioning that most of the changes in languages root in the fact that learners prefer to communicate the meaning while there are grammatical mistakes and errors..... anyway... to avoid fossilization, we as the teacher should prevent students from using these structures "as long as we're not interrupting their communication".
Melinda Makkos likes this

Ted, So you're a Canadian hillbilly like me :)

I'm sure there is something to your suspicions about the PP. I'll have to keep my ears open when traveling. Fact is, unless you enter into a conscious mode - hard to be aware of this sort of phenomena.

But I do think the PP will one day die. Language likes to simplify and there doesn't seem to be much advantage to having this special form (or am I wrong - I do admit, in linguistics this isn't my strong suit/card).

ESL author
The past participle is not dying; it's just not used correctly. I come from Saskatchewan where people say not only I have went, but I give and come for the simple past. These are grammatical errors that have become entrenched in the language. Can anything be done about it? Probably not. I have observed how people will persist in making mistakes even after they've been corrected, or the correct grammar has been explained because everyone makes that mistake. It's a kind of mob mentality. Most people would rather say something that is wrong, like everyone else, than say something correctly and stick out like a sort thumb. Human nature.

Attended University of Kashan
i like past participle. i think they are different and interesting. i always liked memorizing them. and i have seen such a thing in my students. they like them too. but i think students most of the time forget to use them in writting and in speaking. i think they just forget!!! i live in Isfahan, Iran.
Melinda Makkos likes this

English School Chairman at ECCg
I think we are touching on right track here. I hear the strongest sources of this use of language form where there is a change in the density of immigrant population. The AA population certainly does seem to have the strongest uses of the past simple mix inherited from its roots. American English does seem glued to some insistence in the way that the uses certain forms. I think it’s an attitude that only serves to limit the wonderful language of English rather than to enhance it. Surely language development should mean to collate all the best pieces of variations to enhance the language, rather than to reduce it for the purposes of being lazy towards its accuracy.

It’s seems a shame to me that the rich number of tools available to an articulator of the English language, are being eroded by vernacular uses of the language.

From a purely linguistic perspective though, Vernacular dialects can also add to a language's tool kit. An example i like is "y'all" in southern vernacular. This is arguably an improvement as it adds a plural option to the pronoun and clarifies context. There are also the many borrow words and neologisms that help expand the language.

David, what's wrong with your sentence "I have dreamed a lot recently"? Maybe you think it should be "dreamt" instead, which would be OK too. "Dreamt" is British, maybe Canadian, too.

English School Chairman at ECCg
@Ted. I don't want to tease the tiger Ted but i think the English language is powerful enough in its standard form. If someone doesn't come from the south in the US how would he decipher the term? Especially when it is as often used for talking to a single person as it is as multiple people. If you were to read classic poetry for instance there is no confusion of the text itself only the abounding pictures and landscapes it paints. I think this venacular as you term it is born from laziness not only of speaking but the will to greet people with respect as is due to them. Sorry for any offense. But.. "i'll be seein ya now".

No offense taken. From a linguistic perspective though, there is no good or bad dialect. A dialect is just a mutually comprehensible varient of a language that is rule bound. That is, it follows internally consistent rules of grammar etc. Those rules do not need to match those of the prestige dialect. AAVE for example has been found to have consistent grammatical rules. Those rules do not match the prescribed ideal, but they are internally consistent. "laziness" suggests a concious choice to do something easier. A dialect is someting you grow up with, not really a choice.

Touche. :)
Melinda Makkos likes this

Lecturer QTLS & Linguist
To "be" or "not to be" that is the question! 
The verb “To be” is constantly changing, just like English language or any language for that matter. I have heard the misuse of the past participle in UK but only from beginners. However, I don't think that this misuse is anything new. Participle clauses are considered wrong in standard English, but ok in colloquial English; you can even find an example in Shakespeare's Hamlet: 

Now, Hamlet, hear. ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me. As the text goes, it is said that Hamlet's father was bitten by a snake. Strictly speaking, however, the snake was asleep when it bit Hamlet's father. 

"I have gone"... (gone =past participle)........ "I have went" is wrong (never heard this in UK). "have been" is also correct. In same say "I've got" and not "gotten" (never heard this either in UK but in US).
Habib H. likes this

Verbs have been simplifying in English since written records started (well over 1000 years ago) - and going by comparison with the Germanic languages, it is an ancient process that started well before writing started.

We are not actually talking about the disappearance of the "past participle". After all "looked", "liked", "lived", "had", "made", "dreamt" etc etcv etc are all perfectly correct, and none of us have any problem with seeing these as being both the past simple and the past perfect.

For centuries now in English dialects (standard and nonstandard) the verb system has been symplifying to the following:

(in some dialects of English "likes", "does" and "comes" is used with all persons - this is true also in Standard English in certain narative styles)

done (Standard did)
come (Standard came)
went (Standard went)


ing-form (active participle/adjective/noun):
likin' (Standard liking)
doin' (Standard doing)
comin' (Standard coming)
goin' (Standard going)

en-form (resultative adjective/participle. past participle)
went (Standard gone)

The big change is for the past simple to replace the past participle, but always. In the case of "done" and "come" (and "run"), it seems to be generally the other way around.

In other words - the "past particple" is not disappearing; it is the irregularity that is being "ironed out".

If it was true that the "past participle" was dying out, then the present perfect, passive, and other constructions that use it would also be dying out. They aren't, and neither is the "past participle" as a syntactic item.

@ Mia - not "lingua franca" - local dialect. Lingua franca is something else.

Sports journalists are a strange breed; they have to wend their tricky way through talking to their audience in their audience's dialect/accent, and keeping up journalistic standards. I remember a fellow PhD student who had done research in to the use of French verb forms in French newspapers, choosing 5 or 6 different newspapers of differing types (Le Monde, Oueste France, etc.).

By analysing the verb forms, she didn't really find any surprises - except for one. Despite what we are taught, that the French "passé historique" - "passé simple" - "prétérite" - however you want to call it - is used in literature, she found that very few journalists used it, even in literary articles, as if they were trying to speak with their audience rather than down to their audience.

The big exception wer the sports writers. They were the only group to use the French "passé simple" widely. Her theory was that these "lower class" journalists (ex-sportsmen and the like) were using the "passé simple" to prove that they could cut the grade of "journalist".
mia khalifaRachida Jamie and 2 others like this

Dear Canadians, I have to tell you that the Past Participle is healthy and well in these islands.
I suppose we have regarded their lack of use as a New World aberration.
Here in Northern Ireland, I constantly hear "I done" "He has went" "I seen". We regard this as the language of the uneducated.
Rod Mitchell likes this

it is regarded the langauge of the uneducated everywhere; it is also common to all parts of the English speaking world; after all, the Irish got English from England and Scotland - mainly through the so-called "uneducated".

We forget that before WW2, universal education was a different beast to now - much more upper middle class/upper class, and so the voice of the "unwashed masses" rarely was heard, except through the at times dubious representations on stage and so on. The (probably vast) majority of English speaking people in the past who settled around the world were the "uneducated", and so the speech habits of their backgrounds were also transported.

(Now to take somewhat of a radical view)
What we now assume is "English being changed before our eyes" is actually simply what has been in existence for centuries and as the "uneducated" gain their voice through universal education, their feelings of language use also often come through, as they speak and write for each other.

For me that is freeing.
Jenifer S.Bridget Maguire and 2 others like this

Ms Campbell, your surname suggests a Northern Irish ancestry, which would fit the Eastern Ontario lack of PP. Elsewhere in Ireland, this grammar problem doesn't exist.

We regard all these usages, including "should of" (!) as normal in everyday life, but don't expect them to appear in print, or for our public speakers, teachers, etc, to use them.

It would seem that we are more traditional about things we create a ball and chain for ourselves, I wonder?

It is not that Ireland (south or north) is more traditional - these feelings exist in all of the English speaking countries. It is in part a "class" thing of "lower" and "higher", as well as partly a gender thing "male" vs "female", and so on.

"Should have", "Would have" etc., just like "want to", "have to", "made to", operate under a syntactic category where the unstressed word (have, to, etc.) in abbreviated uses remains; it is the unstressed word which shows what the elided reference is.

The function of the "have" with modals and similar words is to highlight that the reference is to the past. The abbreviated forms such as "I should have, shouldn't I?" - "I would have!" (ignoring the tendency to write "have" as "of") are so context dependent that they normally only appear in running dialogue where there are various cues to the retrieval of the eldied information. They also have different meaning from "I should, shouldn't I" and "I would!".

In formal writing and speaking, because of its restricted presentation style where external cues are necessarily minimised in importance, it is much less common to use such abbreviated forms, because more information needs to be put in the presentation to keep the meaning clear.

My guess is you've been listening to some truly uneducated people....the past participle is alive and well and living in many parts of the U.S. Even my students in Rome, Italy know how to use it!

The use of the Present Perfect is certainly on the slide....but that's a different story.
 - -. likes this

I'm very happy to know I'm "uneducated"!

This summer did some reading to learn more about how language does change. One of the main conclusions we are arriving at is that change is driven by those that are the influencers/leaders/respected in the language community. It isn't about critical mass or from the bottom up. Just takes a few leaders to talk one way and everyone follows suit. We seem to naturally, spontaneously, want to mimic the speech of those with power / influence.

My suspicion is that in certain parts of the world, very "educated" people and influencial ones are dropping the PP (and especially the influencers in the young generations Y and Z. ).
mia khalifaRod Mitchell and 4 others like this

I say again - the Past Participle itself is not "dropping"; simply the irregularities are being ironed out. A very different proposition.

In "John's went 'n' done it" - the past participle hasn't "dropped"; the "literary" past participle form "gone" has been replaced by the "new" past participle "went", which is a regular developed based on the majority of English verbs, where the past participle is the same in form as the past simple - and has been for centuries.

In other words - the discussion statement is perhaps wrongly put. It should be "The murder of the past participle form by the past simple form".

<<One of the main conclusions we are arriving at is that change is driven by those that are the influencers/leaders/respected in the language community. It isn't about critical mass or from the bottom up. Just takes a few leaders to talk one way and everyone follows suit. We seem to naturally, spontaneously, want to mimic the speech of those with power / influence.>>

Perhaps. The implication would be that in societies which are "egalitarian" with no "power/influence" hierarchies (like hunter gatherer societies, nomadic tribes people, or Switzerland, Iceland, Gaelic Ireland/Scotland [in other senses]), then language change is either non-existent or very slow. This is true in Iceland; in German Switzerland dialect plurality and a narrow use of High German and a dominant use of Swiss German; in Gaelic Ireland and Scotland Gaelic was a very slowly changing langauge while traditional Gaelic culture and hierarchies was maintained. When the English conquests started in the 1600-1700-1800s, then you almost get the impression that Gaelic "fell apart". So-called "civilised" and "uncivilised" societies when not under the influence of colonisers seem to be pretty conservative in sound change - in part explainable by the grandparents playing a very important role in child minding.

This latter is a characteristically strong lack in our modern Western society, the kin-group, with the relatively small role grandparents and others play in the bringing up of grandchildren, and the giving over of our children to the "standardising" influence of schooling. This latter is conservative, while modern fashion etc. is innovative.

In other words, language change and conservatism is a very complex business.

Freelance English one-to-one tutor and teacher
Here's another anecdotal comment on the PP in dialect:

I grew up near Nottingham, in the East Midlands of England. It was quite normal for people to say, "I've took" and "I've shook".

I can remember that I had to correct myself from time to time whilst teaching in the early 1990s because this dialect use had also crept into my English, too!

Nonetheless, with a university degree and a translator's diploma, I would consider myself an "educated" person, but habits formed in childhood do die hard!

Have been
Many Northern Irish, mostly of Protestant origin, have emigrated to Canada, especially Toronto and the Ontario region. Could we have been responsible for this lapse of Present Perfect.....or, as someone said "Perfect murdered by Simple Past ?
My daughter came North at the age of 7, and I was horrified to hear her grammar deteriorate (!) She had previously lived in Dublin, where there is a good accent, believe it or not, and excellent grammatical use.
M. Jane Campbell likes this

Another important thing to keep in mind. Where Scotland is concerned, I have noticed a very striong difference between those areas of Scotland that are Gaelic speaking, or were until very very recently, and those where English has been spoken for generations - cventuries even.

The "new" English speakers generally seem to speak very good English (at times with a strong Gaelic accent etc.) with few "deviations", while the "old" English speakers have the typical range of "deviations" as in other parts of the English speaking world.

Don't forget that SOuthern Ireland itself is in the same boat; Gaelic speaking until recently (and still so in some places). The schools in Southern Ireland have been
therefore not teaching to an "old" English speaking population.
Sylvia Guinan likes this

Freelance consultant
@ Rod: it is true that Gaelic-origin speakers in Scotland are often regarded as speaking a purer,'better' form of English, but we also have to bear in mind that Scots (as spoken by lowland/ non-Gaelic origin Scots) was an official language in olden times and only ostracized and regarded as a dialect whose grammar might be 'substandard' when the countries were united in the Union of Parliaments and Scotland became a region. Remember the old saying that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy!
Rod Mitchell likes this

English Teacher at Language Institute
that's so strange and also interesting to me.
thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Jennifer, is there a reason you know of, why the eastern seaboard of Scotland has an easy-to-understand accent, while the west and Glasgow is so impenetrable?
Is there a historical cause?

Rod, I agree with you, we spoke Gaelic in many places for a long time. But not in Dublin. The area of "The Pale" was English speaking from way back.....and Dubliners can get quite superior about it!!!

ESL web developer
Hi Bridget,

When you write, "the eastern seaboard of Scotland has an easy-to-understand accent, while the west and Glasgow is so impenetrable" you mean "easy-to-understand" by you and by "impenetrable" you mean "impenetrable" by you.

Now don't think I'm carping at you: this is what everybody in the world means by "easy-to-understand" and "impenetrable" : "easy-to-understand" by me," impenetrable" to me. Dialects which are more well-known (usually for political and social reasons, sometimes for religious reason) are "easy-to-understand" by more people than the less well-known ones.

So I would say you've just had more exposure to the "eastern seaboard of Scotland" accent (politically and culturally dominant) than to Glasgow accent.

A bit at tangent, but I hope you all enjoy this video:

Ummm! In case you didn't know, I'm Welsh.
Rod Mitchellmia khalifa and 1 other like this

Well hi, Glenys,
I stand corrected!
And was also amused by your clip, very funny, and went on to "Burglar alarm and a few others, too

This ability to inject humour into discussions is a great gift for a teacher to have, and I feel you are probably one great teacher, iin that and in other ways.
Laughter warms the soul, and brings everyone in the room together.
You are probably right about East and West Scotland.........familiarity with Norwegian dialects brought understandiing of same, I remember, in the long ago.

Hi Glenys,

That video is a classic and keeper, thanks for sharing. I'm sure you've also heard of the one with the Scottish guys in the elevator? I use it a lot in demos since it is about what I'm into these days, speech recognition -

All this talk of Scottish accents is certainly making me much more aware of something I knew little about. Also reminding me of a funny story from my early years teaching in the Czech Rep. Back then, no internet, English TV, newspapers, nothing. So when the local movie theatre advertised an English movie (not common back then) and that it wasn't dubbed - I closed class early and ran the two blocks from the school to catch it. Sat down all excited and started watching. Didn't understand a word of it! Began learning Czech and decifering the Czech subtitles to understand a little. The movie? Trainspotting. Eventually by the second hour my ear got a little used to it but it was shocking for me, then a young guy new to the world of English - shocking to think that there was "English" that wasn't English ..... Also reminded of Bill Forsyth's "That Sinking Feeling." Loved that movie and it has a Scottish working class accent that is just unearthly ....

@ Jennifer – well aware of the fact that Scots was an official language before the union – and also that (helped by a European Union directive) that it is now again recognized as such.

The old saying “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy” is not that old - and personally I find it inaccurate (almost insulting), in overtly applying just one aspect of how the term language differs from language, and how therefore language is “superior”, even though he person who coined it probably did not mean to give that reading.

“Ease” of understanding the eastern accent in Scotland (i.e. Edinburgh). One historical cause is that Edinburgh was the seat of power before and after the Union, and hence attracted to it the “up and mobile”, or the already “up”. After the union, the speech of the court in England affected the local upper classes in Edinburgh, while other places such as Glasgow and so on were not so affected. Scots English that is actually Southern English with a “scots” flavour (i.e. accent) is not “real” Scots. Neither is Billy Connolly’s, even though he adds in Scots that we outsiders can understand (such as didnae, wadnae) – he rightly tailors his talk for the general market.

@ Bridget – it is a myth that Gaelic was never spoken in Dublin. It was still spoken by the common people and surrounding country people until into the 1700s (except in the Fingall region, where Fingall Wessex English was spoken – these were imported Wessex peasants, imported by the Norman Lords). We know because English visitors mentioned it. This dialect is now extinct, and had no influence on the later Irish English, which is Elisabethan in origin. A similar dialect ("Yola") was spoken until the early to mid 1800s in Wexford.

The so-caleed English invasion of the 1170s was actually a Norman invasion with Welsh and Flemish mercenaries. The English were still on the whole not allowed to bear arms.

English was only spoken as a community language from Elizabethan times; before that the so-called English planters either spoke Norman-French and/or Gaelic, while the original Norse settlers spoke Norse.

Moreover, Dublin was not actually “established” by the Norse; it already had an Irish population around the ecclesastical establishment (the monastery) called Duibhlinn (after the black pool in the river there) with at least three churches (St Peter’s, St Michael’s and St Bride’s). How long Norse stayed spoken after the Norman conquest in the 1170s is not known. Many were probably bilingual in Gaelic.

Gee, Rod, you have smashed some several myths at a blow. (!)
The establishment of Dublin .............Gaelic spoken in Dublin....would love to serve that up to my dear Dublin friends lol.

Was the English invasion of 1170 not led by King John, a bad man who was English, dallied with 12-year-olds and all that? Not a popular guy, as I remember?
And Sir Walter Raleigh, and Spenser of "The Faerie Queen" were surely very English, and had vast acres in Munster.
History! where does one find the truth is so laden with emotion, and opinions.

I apologise to the other people on this thread who probably haven't the slightest interest in Ireland or its history, or even Scotland, but Rod is being too interesting here to let go of.
Rod Mitchell likes this

Don't forget - Neither King Richard nor King John were English. They were Normans. Their mother tongue was Norman French - I don't even know if they could actually speak English. King John's real name was "Johan" (also spellt "Jehan" - which is incidentally the ancestor of the Irish "Seán", Classical Gaelic Seaán with two syllables).

Henri II, his father, was the king at the time of the Norman invasion.

Henri married Eleanora (Aliénor) D'Aquitaine, and Johan was the last son. Johan became King of England in 1199 - if I remember right.

Being called King of England has no necessarily longer meant being English since the Norman invasion.

The fact that Raleigh and Spenser had vast estates in Munster means nothing in itself. Two very well known absentee landlords whose lands were literally stolen/confiscated from the native Irish nobility (as was the case for all the Norman and English Lords in Ireland).
Rachida Jamie likes this

Independent Research Professional
David, I don't think you would of passed any academic test in English, if you had spoke or wrote like this. I says your an optimist.
Amanda Wood likes this

Kulturelle und linguistische Brücken überqueren
Hi David, I would ay this is simply bad grammar andn a no-go. What a mutilation of the language. Only non-native speakers and perhaps certain regiona can be excused for this, in my estimation. If, of course, it is a regional thing in Canada.

No, I have not noticed it here in Germany, not even among non-native speakers.

Trainer at SOFTEAM Cadextan
Sorry, not entirely related to the "pp" comment..but who else has noticed even BBC presenters now using "If he would have scored" or "If I would have done that" (Radio 5 606 phone-in presenters) a structure I believed only to be used by Americans..
I've also been shocked to hear other presenters (not sports) using "I'm really liking that" or "I'm loving that song" ..

I must be getting on a bit and yes, I should probably get out more!

I have to agree with you David, and i tend to be easy=going about most things.
I do believe, however, that those speaking in public, in whatever capacity, have a duty to speak correctly, clearly, AND have their spelling proof-read before showing it at large.

No doubt you get out as much as the rest of us, and have adapted to a host of new ways of living, as the best of us do!

David: Is it "If he would have scored..." or "If he'd have scored..."?There is an interesting thing happening in English - and it has been for quite a while now it seems. It is to do with "'d" being the abbreviation of both "would" and "had". A related confusion is with "I'd rather go" (and there are probably others), where for me "I would rather go" is the only possible full form, but I have noticed here in the UK from quite educated writers the "other" possibility "I had rather go".In other words, abbreviated "'d" - there is confusion of whether it is from the full form "would" or "had" - and things like "I had rather go" do come into being by speakers/writers making the wrong choice - and then through use it becomes "normal"."If he'd 'a' scored" should be "If he had have scored", but through "misplaced backformation" "if he would have scored" does happen.As for "I'm really liking that", "I'm loving that song", "What were you wanting?" etc etc etc.. The verb "be" ing-constrcution in English for some centuries has been in a slow but steady evolution from originally being an emphatic form focusing on activity as it is happening to showing temporary activity/action/state that we know is going to finish.In older English : "I walk to the house" (in appropriate older forms) could mean either "I walk ..." or "I am walking".To emphasise that the action is happening now and I am in the process of doing it, then the structure was "I am on walking to the house". In Modern English the remnant of the "on" is only found either in dialect English, or in special styles influenced by dialect (like Country and Western songs), i.e. "I'm a' walkin to the house".For some generations now the be ing-form has had its main use of showing temporary action/activity/state, and this is getting strongerI normally work in London - but this week I'm working in the New York office.We're talking about it right now. Can I get back to you soon with our decision?She's jogging through the park.I'm thinking that it's not a very good idea.You're not being very nice.I'm feeling sick.We use the be -ing construction when we are expressing an action/state/activity that is not only in the here-and-now of the sentence, but that we also know that the action/state/activity is going to end, and probably soon.That is why "I'm really liking that", "Im loving that song", "What were you wanting?" and so on are now being used - we are in a long term change in English that has still yet to run its course. And we as English speakers are helping the change on its way.Note that "I'm really liking that" is not the same as "I really like that" - it focuses on the liking that is here and now of an action or activity or state (or whatever) that is here and now and that is probably going to finish soon.

Educational Consultant and Advisor
I'm sorry that I have not been able to follow the complete series of comments as time is limited. In language there is the concept of redundancy, such that extraneous items tend to be dropped since they are already covered by other word items. For that to happen with verb tenses that convey different meanings in the flow of time would be more unusual. I would suggest that ignorant usage is not necessarily the best model or a constructive model for future usage.

Private Counselor at My Office
There is no way that a teacher of the English language is going to allow a whole verb tense to just float away. It is essential to the understanding of English speech, and it is just plain necessary. I have no affection for phrases such as, "I been" or "I seen". That is slang, and it comes in a different category altogether.
M. Jane Campbell likes this

I like Stephen's comment, and likewise, I feel that the Present Perfect fulfills a clear function in English.
And just because people misuse the language is no good reason for accepting the misuse, and adopting it.
What usually happens with change is that we who uphold the "status quo" will continue our way, and the mistakes will continue, until it becomes clear who is the winner.
We are in a "dip" at present, with our youth losing the art of conversing, on quite a grand scale, and simply grunting at each other....................but I am optimistic about their getting back to language and human discourse as they grow up some more.
And i guess there will always be a divide between the educated and the non-educated.

Trainer at SOFTEAM Cadextan
In France the slogan is "I'm lovin' it"
I don't have a problem with this because it means "I'm enjoying it" (eating or being in a McDo) or "I'm having a good time" whereas one wouldn't say "I'm loving my pet hamster" but "I love my pet hamster"
Same for "She's liking it more than she used to.." (a job or place for example) which refers to a specific experience, now, compared to another or more general feeling. "I'm liking French food more than English food" wouldn't really work.
Elena Z.Glenys Hanson and 3 others like this

Teacher at Universal Institute for Languages
There's something I see - and not hear - and that is e.g., He should of done that. Because the word 'have' when spoken is pronounced 'of' that is what some people think it is! As far as the past participate (3rd Verb form) not being used correctly, I will continue to teach my students proper English. Just because the hoi polloi are destroying the language, doesn't mean we should go along with it.
Amanda Wood likes this

A lot to think about in this discussion!

My own few humble comments not directed to anyone in particular.

1. The comments seem to highlight those teachers that are very prescriptivist and those that are descriptivists (and if these words irk you - you definitely are the former).

2. "uneducated English" from a native speaker. I don't like this term. There might be different forms of English but I don't think there is such a thing as "uneducated" English or lower/poor English from a native speaker. I'm showing my descriptivist leanings but the terms "higher and lower" in reference to language went out of fashion a long time ago.

3. I'm dropping the past participle in a lot of my oral speech. It comes naturally based on my own intake and use of the language. Like Rod, I suggest that within certain speech communities, this is happening. Not everywhere but it is occurring. Of course, my use of the word "death" is sensationalizing - don't think the past participle will die. It will just gently go into that good night of language change. Whimper not a bang.

4. I think we should not be aghast at exposing our students to these different forms, even if they appear non standard. Our teaching should not be restricted to cages and a zoo but a tour of the wild, natural world.

Language Training at Auto Entrepreneur
I think far too many people on this thread are looking for intellectual excuses - that the English language is continually developing, is in a permanent state of evolutioln, etc... when in reality the language is being dragged down to the lowest common denominator - and that can be very low. It is a sad state of affairs but the standard of English taught in the UK is declining, hidden by the throw-away certificates given out at exam time. The result is that programmes such as East Enders use English which is quite simply atrocious and excuse it by suggesting that this is how people in that part of London speak. The term "past participle" is probably considered to be a foreign language by many who contribute to this and other programmes of the same type. Slowly but surely, like a disease, this deterioration is eating its way into the language. We see people who really should know better, such as qualified journalists, conjugating verbs badly, using the present continuous where it should never be used (aren't we just loving that growing trend!) thanks primarily to a junk food provider's advertising slogan... I am frequently asked why we should spend so much time on the present perfect when so many native speakers haven't got a clue... My answer is "Because one day English may be taught properly again in UK schools and at least my students will be able to communicate clearly and effectively and not like a group of professional footballers who have just crawled out of the cast of Britain's finest soap operas." Here endeth my first rant !!!

I totally agree with Ray and disagree with David. While I do expose my students to what I consider to be 'spoken English,' I make it a point of teaching them what is correct. They are currently working on learning the Conditionals: first/second/third. In the beginning they were totally confused; but now that they've gotten a grasp of it.....they're lovin' it! LOL

Teaching Assistant at Purdue University
This is what I notice. In America, I hear the Simple Past Tense rather than Present Perfect.

Profesora / Traductora / Coordinador-e Pearson
Not heard it .. most of my great friends are English and I have lived in England several times and I have noticed what you are mentioning ... having said this, the younger generations go more for Simple Past than Present Perfect that is surely happening

@ David: <Our teaching should not be restricted to cages and a zoo but a tour of the wild, natural world.>
I absolutely agree, David. I have an activity called the' language safari'- I send students out to see how much of some particular language we have been focusing on they can see in the local environment- when I taught general English in the UK I sent students to the local newsagent to read the For Sale notices, or they read the 'Dating/ lonely hearts notices' in the local paper. In University contexts I send them on a tour of the poster-presentation research posters in the university corridors. The team who can spot the most usages of words and phrases we have been studying and come back with some extra collocations and fixed phrases were the winners. Of course, in a native speaking context, it is possible to do this as a physical activity (and a welcome break from the classroom). However, I am sure an on-line version is also just as possible, visiting relevant websites ('real' ones, not language teaching websites). It also reassures the students that the teacher has done his/her homework and is teaching current and relevant language. I teach my students the 'standard forms' but I also teach them that there are departures from these, which fit the contexts. I think 'ignorant' is not a useful concept,a s we all find we have areas of ignorance about language. I seem to hear something new every day- I mean serious uses of language, not just slang and fashionable phrases.

I like Stephen's comment, and likewise, I feel that the Present Perfect fulfills a clear function in English.
And just because people misuse the language is no good reason for accepting the misuse, and adopting it.
What usually happens with change is that we who uphold the "status quo" will continue our way, and the mistakes will continue, until it becomes clear who is the winner.
We are in a "dip" at present, with our youth losing the art of conversing, on quite a grand scale, and simply grunting at each other....................but I am optimistic about their getting back to language and human discourse as they grow up some more.
And i guess there will always be a divide between the educated and the non-educated.

Teaching Assistant at Purdue University
This is what I notice. In America, I hear the Simple Past Tense rather than Present Perfect.

Not heard it .. most of my great friends are English and I have lived in England several times and I have noticed what you are mentioning ... having said this, the younger generations go more for Simple Past than Present Perfect that is surely happening

I do normally agree with David, and have great respect for his many attributes.............BUT beg to be politically incorrect, if one will, and use the word "uneducated" to describe much of the language I hear. Uneducated to me is NOT having had access to other possibilities, or to the world at large, therefore having no basis of comparison, no overview. If we only have one way of looking at things ,then we are necessarily "blinkered".

As human beings, we have minds and intelligence, and these need to be exercised, we reach towards new experiences, new today's world this sadly means being confronted with lies, advertisements from hungry and cynical moneymakers, etc etc
But this should not blind us to the possibility of a better, cleaner world, where ideals and learning are valued.

I do not treat "uneducated" with contempt, rather I see these people as not having had the opportunities that others, like myself, were lucky enough to have, for one reason or another...........and I feel fortunate to have been given the chance to see and hear very much, which has helped me to be what I am today.
I am also could have been otherwise.
Nazeila Z.M. Jane Campbell and 1 other like this

If that's the case, we'll be out of jobs soon...

Bridget - okay that we disagree. I don't think there is an absolute answer here. It is an attitude we carry around and that informs our actions, our teaching.

I just am cautious about labeling others as uneducated and ignorant. Grew up on a farm and among peasants. Had members of my family deemed "ignorant" for not being able to read when I knew that was just all about power. Reading doesn't make one educated, nor does schooling. It's an attitude from which you experience the world.

Nazeila - teachers are needed for more reasons than just pure content/instruction. We care, we nurture, we mentor, we love and we direct and inspire. These things will never go out of demand (thank god, amen).

Linguistic Specialist at Saudi Aramco
Hi David and all,
My tuppence worth. I am happy to report that back home in Kent (South-East England), even the 'least educated', so to speak, still use the present perfect habitually along with the aforementioned past participle, without problems.

However, South East England is also rife with so-called 'estuary English' (referring to the Thames and Medway rivers) where waTer becomes 'war-ah', THink becomes 'Fink', buTTer 'buh-uh', you WEREN't 'you WASN't', etc... This tends to mark people with lower socio-economic backgrounds who have either chosen not to take the opportunities offered by the free education system, or been denied them by being in areas with high class numbers/ low staffing levels at schools, and other varying factors relating to the areas in which they live.
This is not a criticism. Rather, it is a fascinating aspect of linguistic evolution, dialect and pronunciation. It reminds us that ANY language is not a static entity, pinned down on the pages of the textbooks we use, but rather as dynamic, shifting and varied as the societies in which it is employed for communication. The 'Singlish' of Singapore is one good example in thousands, and the UK seems to have THOUSANDS itself!

These variations in the English language don't nullify our current profession, however. Rather, they enrich it! It can make Grammar and Listening/ Speaking lessons much more amusing for the students if we offset the 'formal' and 'correct' Grammar and idomatic pronunciation with some of the more unusual examples from around the globe. A bit of laughter keeps the learners engaged, and helps them absorb the 'correct' forms too. It also helps them to realise just how GLOBAL a language English truly is!

It helps, of course, if the teacher is adept at adopting dialectical accents on demand :D
Jenifer S. likes this

English Trainer and Coach, specializing in English as a Foreign and International Language
When I went back to Los Angeles for a visit, I heard many people say, "If I would have ..." I do not know where that bad habit came from, but it sure is becoming contagious and more prevalent in the US.

Is American English evolving, changing, or regressing? Are changes like these only found in American English? Are there any other examples like the one David pointed out above?

No Terry, it's worldwide, i believe.
"If I would...." is how the Germans express the Conditional in their language, I wonder if that has rubbed off on some of us......most Germans tend to directly translate that into Engliish. Just a thought!

ELT Teacher Trainer: CELTA | DELTA | TKT | CELTA Assessor
This is a fascinating discussion. In particular I enjoyed reading your contributions about language change, Rod, as you've furnished them with such good examples. I'm looking forward to watching the video of the Glaswegian speakers too. Very often, it's the strength of the accent that makes it incomprehensible to outsiders. The other day I watched a great video with a Black Country accent that I'll post here. Good point about the "descriptivist" and "prescriptivist" approaches. This is a distinction it took me years to see, but is essential to make. When it comes down to it, we have to teach students about what level of formality is appropriate for each situation. Obviously, in written English, none of us would teach "he should have went" or whatever, unless it was for a piece of quoted dialogue. I hope I can bring some harmony to the previous disagreement here. :)
Akram Sadeghi likes this

Here's the Black Country clip. Hard to understand more than the key words?

By the way, the past participle is in rude health: in passives; used as an adjective; newspaper headlines, with ellipsis; and present perfect tense, even if this is sometimes replaced by the past simple in certain dialects of English. Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated!
David Deubelbeiss likes this

Kulturelle und linguistische Brücken überqueren
Talking about the death of the past participle which we do not seem to have experienced or to agree with for the most part, what is really disappearing are our nouns.

"Please send me an invite". Why not invitation, as it says in the dictionary and which is much more challenging to pronounce. Among other suffixes, our nouns end on -tion. I used to accept this mutilation of the language (even if unwillingly) from journalists as poetic licence, but now for no reason at all, people are saying and writing in this manner.

@< "Please send me an invite". Why not invitation..?>
Maria, I think in the UK context where this phrase is widely used, there is indeed a reason and it is not that we don't know about invitation or can't pronounce it! I have observed these usages and similar ones and am convinced that they are social 'de-distancing devices' (someone will tell me the official name for this form, I am sure!) One of the social norms in the UK is to avoid another person thinking you think you are socially superior to them. We use all these little phrases, taken from so-called 'uneducated' or dialect speech which are not very grammatically correct to show we are 'one of the lads' (or girls, of course) and not putting on any social airs. So when I say 'Send me an invite' to a friend, I am trying to give the impression that I am being a friendly and even bit humble and wouldn't necessarily expect an invitation. You can hear people like the Royal family and the Prime Minister doing it in TV clips when they meet ordinary people- they say things like 'you guys and you chaps, to appear like one of the group rather than someone who is socially superior. David Cameron also rolls his sleeves up when he is visiting factories or the army, to look 'un-prime-minister-like! Language is a social device, especially in the UK! So don't worry, Maria, invitations are alive and well and living happily ever after in the written form! All the wedding invitations I receive are written in the full form. :)

Thanks Jenifer. I'm relieved, especially s I can now explain the deviation in usage.
It's a pity I wasn't aware of this fine distinction when I wrote my article entitled "The socio-linguistics of national culture". But no article is really exhaustive, I guess, or it would turn out to be a book.

Is there a link for the article? I would be really interested to read it. I find that a really fascinating topic.

Hi Jenifer,

Unfortunately not, as I do not blog yet. It is to appear as a hard copy in time for the next
semester (October). I have also been checking my post box.

If you give me your direct mail address, I could email it to you, although I do not promise to do that today. I would even mail you a hard copy of the university magazine when it appears.

Why should it die? The young ones at the higher secondary level should be taught the grammar of the language, be it their mother tongue or second language. The three forms of the verbs( in English)--present, past and the past participle--should be taught by a teacher who really "knows" English. It's sad to know that the past participle is dying in the English speaking world.

It's interesting to note the phenomena you mentioned, David. In India, such errors occur as indication of error-driven usage rather than intentional use. They're considered as faulty. May be the p.p will disappear in due course of time, just like the kind of English being used in SMS, which also happens to be used by school children in England, I believe.

There's nothing wrong or right in how a language is used by its speakers. There's only how it's used or not used at a given period in its history.
Gangadharan N. likes this

The feeling that as long as you convey your ideas you need not bother about the established rules of the language is now widespread. Hence you find such atrocious expressions as 'I don't know nothing', He don't know', etc. I fully agree with Mr Spencer that we should always teach the 'standard form.'
Bridget Maguire likes this

Coordinator of ESOL Program and Instructor of Academic Advancement at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
Caution is advised when people predict the death of some aspect of language. Well, I think "whom" is definitely on death row.

Well, Jeff, Prince Charles still uses it LOL!

teacher /english at Self Employed
Simplification is the trend of the day. What does this say about our thought processes however??

I'm a simple Princess Sylvia from the bogs and I use it;)

@ Rod - as Southern Irish that means I speak 'new' English with few deviations?

@ David, I also grew up on a farm - my parents never read books but raised 8 kids and my mother is the wisest person I know:)

...and to quote you...

" teachers are needed for more reasons than just pure content/instruction. We care, we nurture, we mentor, we love and we direct and inspire. These things will never go out of demand (thank god, amen)."..

reminds me of one of my article......which one?

"This does not mean that the biggest ‘how’ in learning is without a teacher. Students and children need our attention, empathy, interest, excitement, validation, love and warmth.

We are more important as warm human beings than as walking encyclopedias. That’s what teaching is all about, that’s what parenting is all about, that’s what life is all about…"

As for peasants and poetry...

Here's poem from a reluctant, sad , poet who felt trapped by the soil of his family farm, which he felt stifled his voice - but it was really giving him the soul to write;)
Noell Ensoll
The past participle is alive and well in my part of south-east England. Haveing said that, the local slang seems to keep the participle and drop the auxiliary in present perfect constructions, especially in the first person:
"I done it" 
"I been there."
(interestingly the auxiliary has to be retained in the question form)
Many of our students notice this when speaking with their homestay families, and ask me about it. Their observations about 'real English' in homestay are often very revealing - the language there often differs markedly from te

Mary Shay
1. years ago I heard in mid western America, "Ah shucks, I shoulda went there!" and also, "I coulda did that."

It must be creeping up into Canada.
"Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major it had been all three" [Joseph Heller Catch-22]

Speaking in terms of linguistics alone, "I shoulda went there", or the likes thereof, would be a mediocre achievement on the part of the learner, whatever the cause.

If we agree that nobody is presently perfect and that beauty is in the eyes and mind of the beholder, it is the want of a learner that adjusts the level of mediocrity to be achieved.

Alice Kern
Really? I would say the learner had successfully acquired native-like ability. Ok, so it's not correct according to the rule book, but it is native English and millions of native English language users speak like this. I would say it's excellent that the learner had been so aware of the language in use in his environment, that he had adopted a native-like usage through cultural context: unless the learner's only language contact is in a controlled classroom setting. Even then it's possible that he may have adopted colloquialisms and idiosyncracies from the teacher; I'm aware, for instance, that I would say "I just ate", yet teach that just is an adverb denoting the present perfect -
albeit  in more simple English.

And here we need to define an educated native-like, and an uneducated native-like ability to speak a language.

"I shoulda went there" is a mediocre way of speaking English that sends a clear linguistically-uneducated message to the other millions of educated native English speakers.

Alicia, if a learner's need is to educate themselves as a linguistically non-educated native speaker of English and achieves that, then "excellent" it may be.
Hopefully, along the way he or she will learn or has also learned a higher level of speaking than be satisfied with just mediocre.

Learning to communicate to educate the needs of others should be everyone's goal. As teachers of English our goal is to be able to offer the answers to those linguistic needs.

As we are non native-speakers in English language, we mind using the past participle when we have to use it. We ,English instructors, advise that students be careful and sentive to the use of the past participle forms of the verbs, especially in the use of the present perfect and the past perfect tenses. It is quite normal for native speakers to use the past simple forms of the verbs because they are not exposed to any exams to be checked in the use of grammar rules in their daily lives. All in all, as a person who gives importance to the use of the rules of my own language, I expect that every native speaker should give importance to his or her own language especially when he or she speaks his or her own language.

IMHO, the ubiquity of the simple past replacing the past participle, at least in spoken English, is not too dissimilar from the continuous chronological evolution of music used in advertising; you can always tell from which generation the marketers are from by the music accompanying the ad. ergo, if you want to know where a grammar is headed, listen to the way people speak because the spoken language always precedes the written. it's the inevitable "standard."

20 years from now, the past participle will probably still be here, but the use of the simple past to replace it will be widely accepted, simply because the ones who are using it as such today will be the ones who, tomorrow, are teaching it, thus accepting it - the same goes for the switching of the past participle for the simple past. and, 20 years from now, those of us who see it as the language of the "uneducated" (myself included) - among the number who consider it deficient, that is - will be still be complaining about it, much in the same manner that our predecessors express their disapproval of the omnipresence of the word "like."

No, the past participle isn't dying. Some people are just becoming more illiterate.


a) i have always thought that illiteracy was like pregnancy; you either are or you aren't, and
b) illiteracy refers to the inability to read and write (not speak); are you making a point by providing an example?

Hullo, dear colleagues! I fully agree with the tendency to get illiterate English knowledge as being presented to us as a tendency that the past participle vanishes. The past simple form of the verb is a verbal form that expresses an action. While the past participle needs an auxiliary, otherwise it doesn't stand on its own feet. But we can't do without it. It gives language a variety of expressiveness by the perfect tenses. And only. Wishing you a fine discussion!
Dora, the past participle without a helping verb can be an adjective.


The frightened man was frightened away by the frightening dog.

My honourable, learned friends...


I'm still hearing the past participle here in Saskatchewan (the flattish area a bit to the left of Canada's middle), and I'm also still not hearing it. I believe there is a large class-and-context dimension to its use and lack of use, because when I was growing up I would also hear it and not hear it in a similar range of circumstances.

I agree that I'm not hearing it in some relatively formal contexts when it might have been used more reliably by more people in past decades, but class-and-context are still significant. Some diligent Linguistics grad student might be set on its trail; I smell a potential thesis.

In Glasgow, the local vernacular is replete with examples where the pp is not used. 'went' is a favourite, as in "Look what you have went and done." The people who speak that way are usually very working class or less educated but I believe it is spreading as it is easier to reduce grammatical forms than to increase and improve them. Also, the increase in the use of shorthand forms for use on hand held devices will likely cause further pressure on strict grammatical forms.
PS. I have noticed a marked increase in the use of 'myself', 'yourself'', 'himself', etc. from when I was a youngster. Also, people nowadays tend to place themselves first in a sentence whereas I was always taught to place myself last for politeness.

"Also, people nowadays tend to place themselves first in a sentence whereas I was always taught to place myself last for politeness."

it's globalization in the parallel but anti-universe

someone commented on derivations on standard English " there would be far too many varieties making English unsuitable for international communication." well , I'm not sure this would be the case as I've noticed the changes we make as non-natives to language and those that native speakers do are very much alike (like verbing or using simple past instead of pp or dropping third person S ). i think we all just try to communicate easier and simpler.maybe one day we'll agree on a simple version of English.


although there is an identifiable "normal" version of English, there has never been, nor will there ever be, one (simple) version of English. normal simply implies an accepted vocabulary (i.e. word = word picture) and a relative - can i be more ambiguous? - pronunciation. thus, in reality, there is only one variety of English; it merely appears in many forms.

That's an interesting observation. I've been telling my students for years that the last participle is in it's way out. Personally I don't mind so much the use of the simple past when present perfect would be technically better (Did you eat lunch yet, eg) but the type you're talking about "He should have went backhand..." does rankle me a bit and I have to quell the inner grammar nerd. I think it's because for regular verbs the past and past participles are the same form and because in the public education system they're not focusing so much on prescriptive grammar. People simply don't care what the difference between went and gone is.

Thanks for the observation!
It's a real pitty to see any language being distorted in the name of modernism or just to be cool!

One person's simplification is another person's confusion.

Give it another 500 years and we'll be back to using point and ug.

I think most educated people are simply unaware of the difference between the past participle of regular and irregular verbs. Since language is a tools of communication, and the communicators have the prerogative to use it to their convenience. If people are prone to make such changes, though out of sheer ignorance or negligence, they change is, nevertheless, inevitable.


that's why they call it a "living" language; it continually grows and changes with use. however, even "dead" languages morph - see Romance (languages!)

I have a cousin in CA who is a third-year law student. She spent a semester living in Honolulu with my husband and I while doing an externship here. I was amazed that she graduated with high honors in high school and college, yet the past participle was completely NONEXISTENT in her speech! She always substituted the simple past. To me, it was a glaring error every time! I was not aware that this was part of a larger movement. She is my same age and we grew up in the same community, yet our English grammars developed quite distinctly!

I am from Pakistan and have been teaching English for the last 27 years,no in our part of the world it is still there and used in its original form.

"My husband and me"

Perhaps outside English speaking countries the English language spoken is true to its origins or more grammatically correct due to the fact that it is learned as a second language. Therefore it is pure.

Or perhaps there are non-native ELT Professionals who prefer to use outdated and convoluted forms of English rhetoric and prose which require a higher degree of grammatical accuracy. Could it be that non-native ELT counterparts are out of touch with modern English language forms, colloquialisms and usages and therefore stand upon grammatical forms and expressions which to a native speaker may come across as elaborate and unnatural? It must be taken into account that English has no society for the standardisation of the language. In point of fact, on the prescriptivist vs descriptivist debate it has been advised to take the "middle path". As language teachers it is necessary for us to prescribe language forms and use. As language users perhaps we should be focussing on describing the context, semantic and pragmatic meaning created by the deviation.

Perhaps we should consider the semantic aspects of deviation from prescribed forms, such as social inclusion?

It may be useful as native and non-native language users to assess a corpus of our own language use (and that of others) to analyse the deviations from 'standard' forms. Similarly, there maybe non-native ELT professionals who teach more colloquial forms of language use or use more colloquial forms than the native ELT professional. Again, context would play a large role in the assessment of this. Idiolect plays a large role in language teaching. How many of us practise what we preach? Or do we preach what we practise?

I have grown out of them.

May be you are right, but I think we should work on it and never forget that it's grammar!!!!

That problem has existed in Singapore for decades. And then there is the Singlish variant that is quite troubling. Compare the following:

Standard British English (SBE): If he had eaten during the break...
Singlish variant: If hor, juss now , he ea(t) oredi...

Notice that the final consonants are not pronounced (also known as glottal stops) and the syntax is quite different. The "L"s are often omitted and long vowel sounds are often shortened except when whining (oredi instead of already). Now compare the following:

SBE: I have had breakfast.
Singlish variant #1: I got eat breakfuss.
Singlish variant #2: I eat breakfuss oredi.
Singlish variant #3: I have eat breakfuss.

Standard Singapore English (SSE) [it seems]: I have eaten breakfast.

Often the prescriptivist in me screams, "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!" Where does one draw the line? How do we find middle ground with descriptivists?

My response is, for so long as I am an English language teacher, it is my job to follow the rules in SBE and correct written work and speech whatever the eventual outcome.

it's amusing buddies to hear such stuff i.e past participle absence.that's funny anyway!

When I returned to Australia in 2010 I immediately noticed that Standard Australian English changed in the 12 years that I had been away. At first I noticed the shift in vocabulary from lounge chair to sofa and couch,biscuit to cookie, lollies to candy and soft drink to soda. The I noticed a changed in accent in SOME segments in society,noticebly my young female university students. recently I've noticed that verbs are changing. On TV especially I hear "We/you/ I need to do XXXX". Whereas in the past it would have been "We / you / I have to do XXX' I wonder what will change next?!?

In Texas, my neighbors don't bother with the irreg pp, even when it's something common that they are familiar with, so they say "He's went ..." though they would say st is "all gone".

it is so strange and interesting to find facts about young learners i definitely agree with you

I wear two hats on this general subject: ie. the death of "correct" formal English. My natural inclination is is old school traditionalist-prescriptivist. However, I do own a Pragmatist hat, and wear it about as often. The compromise that I have settled upon for my tutoring practice is this: I teach my ESL students that there exist two different forms of English 1. Formal
2. Informal or casual. I teach them that these two forms are for different uses, and explain the difference. For my advanced proficiency students, I go a bit further and teach them that these two forms are not clear cut "black and white", but rather progressive shades of gray. I hope this little contribution may be of some help to other TESL-TEFLs out there who may be struggling with the same dilemma.

David, You are ,perhaps, thinking only of the spoken English
Sayeed, Correct. Usually change and variation in language happens first in speech and then much later, in the slower, smaller community of text/writing.

Jerry - useful, simple distinction and something I think all beginning teachers especially will find valuable. It links into the role of register and that depending on the context, the people, our English will and does change - many times significantly.

I have noticed that as a general trend in North America. Just today a friend wrote "...have you sang this (song) very much?" A younger friend, mid-30s, when I gently corrected his sentence about how frequently he had "swam" and a certain beach, told me had never heard the form "swum." I suspect that the past participle is doomed.

I must confess how strange even 'swum' seemed to my ears having taught it the other day. I've said this before but I see this as the influence of the growing number of ELLs on native speakers, particularly the young and impressionable. Perhaps the expressions 'my bad' and 'long time no see' were originally copied verbatim from an ELL in order to mock their inferior grasp of the language until hipsters mistook it as a neologism, adding it to their linguistic repertoire, as they might an unusual piece of clothing or accessory.

How likely is it that [ be + going to + verb ] will, or even is being replaced entirely by [ be + doing + time ]? It'd be interesting to see stats on this usage. How likely is it that N.A.s may adopt the practice of saying half four instead of half past four for simplicity's sake?

I often heard about that in spoken English.

Ferd, it's interesting you comment about using 'half four'. Ever since I can remember we've used this in the UK - I'm talking, since the sixties. Since most Americans I've come across tend use 'after four' rather than 'past four', I wonder too, if this is so engrained, if it will change...

I think the past participle thing depends on the linguistic area of the country. It seems typical among many Londoners of East End/Cockney origin to say, instead of 'He did it yesterday', 'E done it yesterday'. In this case the participle is alive and well. Although, on reflection, it may depend on the individual verb. Whether they would say 'She gone yesterday' I'm not sure. I am fairly sure though that they do say 'E come yesterday' rather than 'came', which again is using the participle in the same way as 'done'. 'Been' is not used in the same way though. The use of 'sang' and 'swam' are common, I think, among many UK speakers instead of the 'u' form. The London/South-East dialect or dialect area also often uses 'was' instead of 'were' as in 'We was out all day' so this area has great examples of dialects with quite a few variations. 

You'll find many native speakers asking if 'swum' is a real word online, I presume because the vowel difference is not that great. This and the 'of' for 'have' shows how influential spoken language is over written even among literate speakers. It's like knowing the words of a pop song without ever having read the lyrics.