Where could I find/read about studies about the influence in English of the lack of regulatory bodies of its use and lexicon?

  1. It is easy to google and find long arguments on the topic. I am interested in studies that at least attempt to be systematic or rather scientific (to the extent this is possible in this case).

    1.1. Your personal opinion is not what is being asked unless it comes from an study. In that case it is prefered that you point to where can I find such study.

  2. I expect to find in them comparison with languages like Spanish and French that have their language academies.
  3. I honestly expect to find in them conclusions pointing to benefits, as that is my personal opinion, but I am open to what the studies could say. As pointed out in the comments it is to be expected a serious study may not be able to label as benefit any such influence.
  4. I expect the studies to particularly look at the influence in:

    -) the speed of evolution of the language.

    -) the breadth of the English lexicon.

  • 1
    Was posted initially in English Language and Usage Stack Exchange at english.stackexchange.com/questions/117541/… Jun 25, 2013 at 21:22
  • 3
    A lot of what you expect 'benefits' to be is necessarily subjective - what you would consider a 'benefit' wouldn't really be 'improving' the language from an objective standpoint, it would just be changing the language so that it aligns closer to your personal opinion of what it 'should' be. In linguistics, there's almost nothing that's considered objectively 'good' for a language beyond making sure people keep speaking it.
    – Sjiveru
    Jun 26, 2013 at 1:26
  • That makes a lot of sense. But I guess there could be studies simply identifying, describing, or exemplifying how the influence occurs, comparing events in the evolution of English to events in other languages. The studies could just avoid labeling them as benefits. Jun 26, 2013 at 1:54
  • True, and I'd be interested in seeing some myself ^_^
    – Sjiveru
    Jun 26, 2013 at 4:02
  • 1
    In general, historical sociolinguists don't view the effects of regulatory bodies as particularly influential at all. And it's hard to make comparisons, because the circumstances always differ and no language is completely free of prescriptivism. But Anne Curzan's book Fixing English has some discussion of the effects of attempts at regulation in English. I'm not aware of any comparative work. Jul 12, 2015 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


Your question implies that the English would contemplate what it would be like to have a regulatory body of sorts. The very fact that there is no such body means your question can probably be answered only inductively. You cannot investigate the impact of something that is not there. Rather figure out what impact regulatory bodies do have on languages.

A good choice could be French - https://books.google.hu/books?id=tNyiQuKWMwYC - http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2014/03/academie-francaise/ (something a little lighthearted for your taste, I presume)

Re I expect the studies to particularly look at the influence in:

-) the speed of evolution of the language:

You are treading on a slopy terrain. What is evolution? How do you measure its speed? What do you compare it against?

-) the breadth of the English lexicon:

Like I mentioned before, it is hard to argue for the impact of something that is not there.

  • Where was this study of English published? Or is this just your opinion? Also, where did you get the idea that lack of regulatory body cannot have an effect but having a regulatory body can?
    – user6726
    Nov 8, 2016 at 17:52
  • 1
    #1 I referenced two French cases where the question might be legitimately discussed. Might. And argued why it is futile to try and find one for English. #2 "where did you get the idea that lack of regulatory body cannot have an effect but having a regulatory body can?" Not having one is the natural course of events for languages, they just change, for no rhyme or reason, because that's what languages do. Having a regulatory body, on the other hand, is trying to impose some form of rule and order through a sociopolitical construct. Nov 8, 2016 at 20:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.