Here's an article by Steven Pinker on the issue of language and the widespread view that English is in a state of decay and one step away from total collapse.
Language is a human instinct. All societies have complex language, and everywhere the languages use the same kinds of grammatical machinery like nouns, verbs, auxiliaries, and agreement. All normal children develop language without conscious effort or formal lessons, and by the age of three they speak in fluent grammatical sentences, outperforming the most sophisticated computers. Brain damage or congenital conditions can make a person a linguistic savant while severely retarded, or unable to speak normally despite high intelligence. All this has led many scientists, beginning with the linguist Noam Chomsky in the late 1950's, to conclude that there are specialized circuits in the human brain, and perhaps specialized genes, that create the gift of articulate speech.
But when you read about language in the popular press, you get a very different picture. Johnny can't construct a grammatical sentence. As educational standards decline and pop culture disseminates the inarticulate ravings and unintelligible patois of surfers, rock stars, and valley girls, we are turning into a nation of functional illiterates: misusing [hopefully], confusing [lie] and [lay], treating [bummer] as a sentence, letting our participles dangle. English itself will steadily decay unless we get back to basics and start to respect our language again.
What is behind this contradiction? If language is as instinctive to humans as dam-building is to beavers, if every 3-year-old is a grammatical genius, if the design of syntax is coded in our DNA and wired into our brains, why, you might wonder, is the English language in such a mess? Why does the average American sound like a gibbering fool every time he opens his mouth or puts pen to paper?