A long time ago, there were no dictionaries, no modern language associations, no Oxford standards. Language is a fundamentally organic system that has been evolving for thousands of years, as complex and intricate as something like the economy, and for most of its existence its rules have not been explicit.
of my favorite books growing up were How Things Work, and its sequel. I read books on circuit design and simple machines from cover to cover, multiple times, and I saw engineering as the ultimate in thinking everything through. In my head, anything made by human hands was the product of a thorough process of dimensional and material optimization.
So I did that. I spent weeks, even months, walking around the school, making mental notes about the ways in which people spoke to different people, how it was different depending on the person and the relationship involved, the different dialects and slangs and jargons that were employed, the patterns to the words. Then I sat down, and in my first serious attempt at a novel length work (which I still intend to finish one day), I sought to incorporate what I had learned about conversation into my dialogue. When I’d written the first sixty thousand words or so, I sent out the rough draft to a few people, and asked for feedback.
I’ve said it many times on the site: I have something of a love affair with the English language. Where some people moan over homonyms and homophones, or grumble about synonyms and antonyms, or the fact that tenses are so erratic, to me they are features, not flaws.