We live in a fast-paced world where it has become necessary to invent new words on a regular basis. But at what point in a word’s life-span do you think it earns a place in the Oxford English dictionary?
Neologisms, or newly coined terms, words or phrases, are becoming increasingly common as we’re constantly inventing new technologies. In a recent article, the BBC pointed out just how ubiquitous they’ve become, with words like ‘smartphone’, ‘tweet’ and ‘Facebook’ making it into everyday parlance.
But these new words don’t just stretch to naming new technologies. The way we communicate via new mediums has itself spawned numerous new words, and even whole new ‘languages’.
Itz gud 2 tlk
The mass introduction of mobile phones spawned the well-known language of text-speak – a gr8 way of makin it kwik 2 tlk. It’s a language unique in its inconsistency and creativity. After all, it would be nigh-on impossible to create a dictionary of terms when the very words change between individuals!
The internet brought us an ever-growing set of initialisms, like ‘OMG’ (oh my god), ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud) and ‘FYI’ (for your information). Add emoticons into the mix, and you’ve got a raft of ways to express yourself ever-more efficiently.
But what would you say if I told you that some of these terms had been added to the Oxford English Dictionary? Many of them have, including ‘LOL’ which is defined as an informal abbreviation ‘used chiefly in electronic communication to draw attention to a joke or amusing statement, or to express amusement.’
OMG have you seen the latest neologisms?
Sufficed to say, these additions haven’t all been welcomed by language purists. But personally, I welcome the additions and say, let’s keep it up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stickler for grammar (she says hoping she hasn’t made any mistakes…) but I think we should always let language evolve naturally.
Our language is eternally evolving. I’ll admit I’ve groaned at some recent additions to my lexicon. These include: ‘tweeps’ used to describe those who use Twitter; ‘phablet’, which describes a mobile phone and tablet hybrid (yes, even we’re guilty of that one); and even ‘ideation’ – an unholy blending of the words ‘idea’ and ‘creation’.
I couldn’t begin to cover the vast range of neologisms we’ve seen in the last decade, but I’ll keep watching eagerly as they pop up thick and fast. I’m curious to know, at what point in a word’s existence do you think it should be granted a space in the Oxford English Dictionary?