Fear and Loathing

A listener to a radio program called in to thank the guest for her “service toward our nation? illustrates the observations of a recent writer on usage who noted the burgeoning use of “toward? in the place of other prepositions.  Examples are “concern toward…?, “interest toward…?, etc.

This may be occurring and similar spread of one word at the expense of others is commonly found in the history of all languages.  But what is behind the objection to it?  Given the fact of similar phenomena in all languages, why would this process be upsetting and be condemned?

Apparently, it is the fact of change itself that disturbs.  What goes on in the mind of the person objecting?  Perhaps it is a fear of loss, loss of what he believes to be something valuable his way of speaking, even his way of life.  How could a simple preposition activate such worry?

Here we get back to the fear of change. When things change, the results are unpredictable.  Should “toward? spread, what else might happen to the language? Would the concerned person find himself labeled out-of-date, out-of-touch, passé?  Should he despise certain speech forms, e.g. Spanish, rappers? cant, teen slang, or others, he might fear the domination of our society by these speech forms, not only disgusting him but leaving him out.

I invite anyone who reacts strongly to changes such as the spread of “toward??if that is indeed occurring?to correct the above impressions.  I am only guessing at what might motivate the objections.

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