In the digital industry we love to write and blogging is a marketer’s best friend. Therefore it’s easy to see how tech-jargon can form out of typically English terms. Additionally, in a society that’s always in a rush, shortening and amalgamating language serves to give us more (if only a millisecond) of that precious commodity…time. Read on for recent additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, and the obvious infiltration of tech.
The Oxford English Dictionary is as much as tool for finding the correct spelling as it is a startlingly accurate sociological timeline. The words that make the cut and are added into the prestigious book each year can tell us a great deal about the world we live in and how much we are constantly changing.
The most obviously telling additions are those that are based on ‘slang’ terms, which have become so prevalent in the way we speak, that they have become part of the world of language forever. But is this a good thing? Critics describe the dumbing-down of the English language as almost sacrilegious, with the inclusion of slang terms into the dictionary as pandering to the new generation.
There are examples to be given left, right and centre, perhaps the most notable of recent years being the addition of the world ‘selfie’ into the OED. For those of you who may perhaps have not been a part of the selfie culture, the word describes the taking of a photo of oneself, by oneself – ergo, a selfie. Now, the more traditional wordsmiths or lovers of language may see this as an abomination as it is a word that essentially has been created out of nothing to explain an action that can be described with words that already exist, negating the need to create a new word. However, aren’t all words created out of necessity? Isn’t all language the creation of new words in order to better explain various things to the masses?
In a way, the answer is yes. As we have developed as a species, so have various aspects of society. Our recent technological boom has seen new words pop up from out of nowhere. For instance, the word ‘lockscreen’ to describe the idle screen on smartphone or tablet was added to Oxford dictionaries this year. Although created from the words ‘lock’ and ‘screen’, the fact that we now have a lockscreen on all our tech means that there is a necessity for the word where there wasn’t before.
Efficient or Lazy?
However there are words that appear to mean nothing and add nothing to the language. Recently added to dictionaries was the phrase ‘time suck’, which means an action that ends up as a colossal waste of time – i.e, “The internet can be a massive time suck”. This phrase could be uttered using countless other phrases that have been around far longer; ‘waste of time’ and ‘time consuming’ to name a couple. Die-hard language lovers will look at these new additions as giving people an excuse to use poor diction and meaningless language, rather than expanding their vocabulary with words that already exist and have a deeper and more profound meaning.
Immortal Societal Blueprint
However, it is endlessly interesting to see which new terms have been created to explain away actions or parts of life which are new and previously unnamed. As new things are discovered, new terms for these things are needed and these are excellent ways for future scholars to learn about the time during which these additions were made. However, the same future scholars may look at the dictionary and see things such as ‘deets’ instead of ‘details’, ‘bezzie’ to describe a best friend, ‘tweetable’ for a sentence that must be shared on Twitter and ‘boyf’ instead of boyfriend, and perhaps think we were too lazy a generation to just say a whole word.
In conclusion, as a testament to the sociological realm of the time, these additions may prove a valuable tool in learning the history of our language and our generation – however, pandering to the laziness of some who do not feel it important to learn to speak the language of those before them properly may one day signify the end of traditional English and the beginning of a new language of ‘text speak’.
22nd August, 2014