The decline is not consistent across the full range of language but concentrates in those areas having to do with large issues such as philosophy, religion, public policy, and nature. Sadly, vocabulary has probably increased in areas having to do with sex, violence, recreation, and consumption. Basically, we’re losing the capacity to say what we really mean and ultimately to think about what we mean. Our ability to articulate intelligently about the things that matter most is eroding.
"That sucks," continues Orr, “is a common way for budding young scholars to announce their displeasure about any number of things that range across the spectrum of human experience. But it can also be used to indicate a general displeasure with the entire cosmos. Whatever the target, it is the linguistic equivalent of duct tape, useful for holding disparate thoughts in rough and temporary proximity to some vague emotion of dislike.”
It’s not just teen-agers, young adults, immigrants or the poorly educated. What we have now is an epidemic of incoherence evident in our public discourse, street talk, movies, television, and music. "We are all engaged," wrote Abraham Hershel, one of the leading philosophers of our times, "in the process of liquidating the English language." The lyrics of popular-music lyrics are often pre-Neanderthal groans. The conversation on TV talk shows should embarrass intelligent four-year-olds. Politicians routinely (and proudly) mangle logic and language in less than a paragraph, although they can do it on a larger scale as well.
Add to this text messaging, and a host of other social media instruments that further seek to reduce thoughts and expressions to misspelled syllables and 140 characters of texts and we’re left with communications that are barely above the grunt level.