Jonathan Swift, Jacobs says, looked for “some method . . . for ascertaining and fixing our language for ever.”
This is a recurrent theme among linguistic academicians and their allies: a deep conviction that the dominant usage of their own time—or, more precisely, the usage into which they were educated, the usage of their youth and young adulthood—is a pure or ideal form of the language, any deviation from which marks a decline.
Language is a living entity. You can’t force it to stay the same anymore than I keep my baby from growing.
Such a comment, of course, calls for a baby picture.