Friday, September 03, 2021

Celebrating Language Change

I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm a language fuddyduddy, clinging to past-pull-date English. Language is a living thing. I don't expect it to freeze solid in 1969*.

Language chases after change in the real world. Names are born for the new stuff: wiki, tweet, google, go cup, podcast, bitcoin, DNA, penicillin, page view, Peace Rose, moonwalk, on brand, quark. 
Bright, shiny new things, these words.

Words let us look at familiar things in new ways:
right-size,  single-use, metrosexual, non-binary, slipstream,  catfishing, mansplaining, fail as a suffix (skateboard fail,) salty, to "ghost" on somebody, Black Lives Matter, geek, I can't even, slut-shaming, binge watch, photobomb, throw shade, because reasons, because awesome, nerd, gender fluid, double down, rewilding, first world problem, singular they . . .  
We play with language.
I adore that**.

*1969 is the first use of "pull date" according to Webster's
 ** Careless errors of grammar, OTOH are not useful nor clever nor beautiful.

And, in truth, there are days I stomp grumpily along the transitional boundary where the newfangled grammars ooze into general acceptance, me sneering and fluffing out my feathers.
(The proper use of lie and lay, for instance. Gone. Hrumph.)
So maybe I am a fuddyduddy.


  1. Any new books in the works?

    1. I am working on a manuscript. Not getting as much done as I'd like, I'm afraid. My poor brain isn't as lively as it once was ...

  2. Any new books in the works? Would sure love to have that happen!

  3. One of the things I like about Country music is the way the songwriters play with language—"I've got friends in low places", "She's got the rhythm and I've got the blues", "Let's go to pieces together, why should we both fall apart".
    I love playing with words.

    1. "Country" language contains some beautifully sly wit.I love the way country songs pick this up and run with it.