my perception is that english is rapidly making the transition into a tonal language.
this is because everyone born in america in the last 20 years has been inoculated
with the speech patterns and mannerisms of western youth culture. though this has
resulted in the erasure of a lot of regional differences, it also means that
the language is standardized to the extent that every tiny nuance of inflection,
wording, pause in between words, is meaningful.
it's like modern youth english is quickly evolving into a global ur-spracht
with the potential of carrying all the densely ramified meaning
of a tribal language.
this video is a good example :
I suspect that this evolution is largely because of the influence of black culture.
the tragedy of slavery brought an influx of millions people from thousands of living, vibrant tribal societies into the white world, which was in a cultural dead end. black people invented ragtime, jazz, blues, rock 'n roll, funk, soul, swing, bebop, hip hop.. hell, even bluegrass wouldn't exist without the banjo, which came from africa. every time a new meme is generated by black culture, it's immediately appropriated by white performers.
there's this double standard where blackness is shunned and black english is seen as less correct than white english, while at the same time white american youth is trying their damndest to emulate blackness in their music, in their speech, in their mannerisms...