Opinion
By James Pavel

The sickening pollution of the English language continues as the term “irregardless” has been granted access into the once prestigious Oxford English Dictionary.

After years of polite interruptions to inform one that he or she has misspoke, apparently the linguistic hierarchies have surrendered to the ignorance of society and have allowed this hybrid of two separate terms to gain legitimacy.

The term “irregardless” is the fusion of the words “regardless” and “disregard.” To refresh everyone’s memory, “regardless” is defined as “having or showing no regard,” while “disregard” is to “neglect.” Essentially, the two terms are synonyms, therefore not only is the term “irregardless” alien to the English language(until now), but it is also a trite redundancy.

It is shameful and appalling that the English language has again suffered a tremendous defeat at the hands of the lazy and the illiterate. While television and the Internet have become the dominant sources of information, handily forcing the book and newspaper out of the top position, it seems that the way one speaks has now become the latest victim of the languid and the unenlightened.

Many will point to the terms “bootylicious” and “bromance” as further examples of the bastardization of one of the world’s most popular languages, but I will defend these trivial terms. They are at least neologisms, meaning that they are original and are a fresh addition to the ever-growing language. Yet, “irregardless” is simply an error in one’s speech or writing, similar to the improper use of the word “know” or the common mistake of confusing “affective” with “effective.”

Why must the knowledgeable be forced to succumb to the level of those either unaware or too proud to recognize that “irregardless” is false and non-existent? It should be noted what sort of precedent this inclusion is capable of setting.

Language is our safety net, our assurance that one can convey meaning when and if all other alternatives fail. If language becomes an infested nest of jargon and make-belief terminology, then our key avenue of information will be rendered useless.

While it is convenient for the “texting” generation to resort to acronyms and shortened versions of virtually everything, one must not neglect the fact that language is one of the essential pillars of society.

If society cannot reach agreement on such preliminary issues as whether or not “irregardless” is a proper word, then we may soon enter a world of convoluted misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

Often all it takes is the wrong placement of a comma or a misplaced insertion of a period and suddenly a sentence has taken on a drastically new meaning. So what could happen if men and women begin interjecting their own terms without fear of ridicule or judgment, knowing that if their newly-coined term gains popularity in one’s inner circle, it could eventually be nominated for legitimacy?

Those who are capable of speaking and writing, even at a sufficient level, should be proud of this proficiency because there is a legion of humans who unfortunately cannot declare the same. Secondly, and just as importantly, one must guard over their alphabet and their diction, just as a dog guards over its meal, to ensure it is not destroyed by misuse and ignorance.

This is not a cry for war between white collar and blue collar, or upper class and lower class, but an inclusive invitation for all to stand up for the English language that they have come to accept despite all of its quirky and difficult regulations and exceptions.

“Irregardless,” should be disregarded completely, and sent packing with all of the other linguistic blemishes that vanish upon one’s completion of elementary school. As we will welcome with open arms new terms to define the ever-evolving world we exist in, we must not settle for inaccurate slang, no matter how popular its usage may become.

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