Many people bemoan the impending death of the English language. Young people and immigrants are often blamed as the murderers.
“There is a worrying trend of adults mimicking teen speak. They are using slang words and ignoring grammar,” said Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign, as quoted in the Daily Mail. “Their language is deteriorating, they are lowering the bar. Our language is flying off at all tangents, without the anchor of a solid foundation.”
Immigrants who bring their language and customs to America are also to blame, it seems. It’s as if speaking English is the password to entering this country. And if you don’t speak English while here, you should be asked to leave.
This belief in the decline of the English language is nothing new. In fact, it’s a more than 400-year-old belief.
In the 14th century, Ranulf Higden complained about the fate of English.
“By intermingling and mixing, first with Danes and afterwards with Normans, in many people the language of the land is harmed, and some use strange inarticulate utterance, chattering, snarling and harsh teeth-gnashing,” Higden said.
In the years since there have been many great works of English literature. Despite the social media and pop culture slang of today, the language still exists. These new words merely add to the language but don’t destroy it.
English has changed. If not, we would still be using old English as the norm. Language evolves.
Dictionary.com recently announced the addition of new words and phrases to its lexicon. This illustrates how social media, with its prevalent use of acronyms like LMAO and BFF, may have changed how we communicate but has not taken anything away from the English language. It’s how in the 1960s “groovy” and “far out’’were assimilated into the language.
Here are a few new words and phrases recently added to Dictionary.com:
Womyn: an alternate way of spelling woman by leaving out perceived sexism by eliminating the suffix “men”
Smexy: Describing someone who has both brains and beauty.
Hamster angle: A term for a selfie that makes a person’s face look chubby, like a hamster’s.
Baltimore peak: A level of drunkeness that supposedly heightens a computer programmer’s skills.
Plogging: Combines jogging with picking up litter.
New words are added almost daily. Many come from pop music, some from the world of sports, like “alley oop” and “downtown” in basketball, “nickle and dime defense” in football and “can of corn” in baseball, to name a few. I rely on my wife and daughter to keep me up on the latest sayings. How they know them I have no idea, except maybe they listen to a lot of pop music. Even my 6-year-old grandson knows more of the new language than I do. They still think I’m stuck on “groovy” or maybe even “bee’s knees.”
I just learned what LMAO and BFF meant not long ago.