Is that possible? We’re all taught in school that English (and properly known as American English to distinguish it from British English, but I will refer to it as English here for simplicity’s sake) is the language commonly used in the United States (of course other languages are also spoken here, but English is the one I want to focus on right now).
But has it ever occurred to you that people using English might be using two languages? A spoken language, and a written language. The grammar of spoken English and the grammar of written English are definitely different. Spoken English is much more accepting of slang, and casual usage, than written English.
As a writer, I know that it is very hard to write conversations when writing fiction. The difficulty arises because people speak differently than we write. If you write conversations the way English ought to be written, then the conversations sound stilted and awkward. If, on the other hand, you write conversations the way they are actually spoken, then you end up with incorrect writing.
The genius of a good fiction writer (and I am not placing myself in that category) is to write correctly while making the conversations sound like real spoken English.
It actually goes beyond the rules of grammar, and when slang is acceptable. My husband brought this whole subject up when we were discussing how English is not pronounced the way it is written, and the rules of English phonics exist more in the exceptions than the application.
For example, if the word ‘are’ followed proper English phonetics rules, we would pronounce it ‘air’ or like the end of ‘hare,’ because of the ‘e’ on the end. But we do not follow the rules, and so it is pronounced ‘ar’ despite the final ‘e.’
I think that saying English users have two languages, one spoken and one written, is probably an exaggeration, but not a very big one. Given time, I think the two types of English language will continue to diverge, and perhaps we will have two languages in a few hundred years.
But even as things stand now, it makes it hard for children to learn to read. Italian is pronounced as it is written, and Italian children learn to read 1-2 years before English-speaking children.
- Speech Patterns in the English Language (brighthub.com)