CUNNING LINGUIST—JUNE 6th, 2013:
Consider, if you will, a time far in the future, when English (having enjoyed a long and turbulent reign as the lingua franca of the modern world) is splintered and evolves (perhaps) into several descendant languages, much as Romance languages evolved from their more complicated ancestor, Latin.
Now, take this consideration a step further and imagine that English is preserved in only a few places for everyday discourse, its once-fluid, agglomerative, and acquisitive form now ossified, a cultural and linguistic fossil reserved for priests and academics. Furthermore, imagine the cultural impact of it, the weighty mass of millenia of literature and philosophy, of poetry and prose stacked to the skies, the history of the world captured in the idiomatic reticulatum (to borrow a phrase, har, har) of a bunch of Wotan-worshiping hill-folk.
My point in asking you to consider these concepts is this: I wanted you to have context for an idea that came to me in the wee hours of the morning, as I lay half-awake and turning over story ideas in my mind.
Namely, the idea that whenever a popular author (writing in whatever genre stands in for science fiction and fantasy in that distant culture so difficult to extrapolate from our own) needs a character to employ magic, casting a spell or a curse or a blessing, the language they will reach for will not be Latin (which will no doubt remain popular in scientific taxonomy but even more removed from everyday discourse than it is in our own diminished age), but English.
Think about that.
When some 31st-century Hermione Granger analog is running about trying to discover the Secret of ‘Murica Manor, waving her magic wand at her enemies, she will no doubt cry something along the lines of “GO AWAY!” or “MAGIC STUFF!”, and this will be regarded as mystical and arcane.
And now, some pictures of Hermione herself, Emma Watson. Because of reasons. FLIMSY, THINLY-JUSTIFIED REASONS.