Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Literature, Poetry, and Books

Our Official New Words

The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has been released. FYI, the lexicon is being increasingly subordinated to the age of texting and Twitter with additions including OMG and LOL. IMHO, that's TMI for the dictionary, which is a bit of a yuck factor for all of those wags wearing tinfoil hats. Food items included are taquitos, banh mi, doughnut holes, and the schoolyard-famous five-second rule (a notional rule which permits the retrieval and consumption of dropped food within the specified period of time).

One of the most interesting new entries is La-La Land. The noun can "either refer to Los Angeles (in which case its etymology is influenced by the common initialism for that city), or to a state of being out of touch with reality--and sometimes to both simultaneously." Seems like the dictionary is trying to pick a fight. As the L.A. Times asks, what is so out of touch about a city where Spiderman can get arrested on Hollywood Boulevard?

Discussions - 5 Comments

Words and phrases come and go, but do they ever leave the OED even when archaic?

I thought the real news in the additions was the "heart" symbol, as in "I [heart] New York". The symbol is the word, but not the word, as it means "to love". I reserve shock until it appears on my keyboard.

I will be impressed with these new symbols as words when they evoke some deeper and real meaning--but perhaps they are limited. What would the symbol be for the kind of love which is more than mere heart? I "brain" you? I "soul" you? Or, perhaps, it is telling that using symbols reduces love to mere a mere heart . . .

What if the heart symbol becomes the shortcut for that kind of love that C.S. Lewis described as familiar love? It is more than liking. English uses "love" indiscriminately. The word means too much. I would actually be more comfortable saying, "I just [heart] the smell of fresh basil." I don't want such symbols to indicate anything of depth. Smiley faces should not mean more than good cheer. Symbols say a lot with not too much effort & sometimes short ways of saying things are acceptable.

After all, a question mark indicates variations on the theme of "I ask you?" Doesn't it?

This isn't really an argument. I [heart] your response.

I don't think people should be concerned about these new words. Even Shakespeare and other famous authors used words and expressions of their own and now the words belong to the literary treasure of Great Britain.

Oh, no! Language feeds on neologisms: English ever fresh. I don't know if it is in the OED yet, but one of my favorites is "Google" used as a verb. "I googled the word, neologism, and found..." The other day I was teaching students how to dig deeper for research and said I was taking them beyond their Google-infancy into their Goolgescence. They laughed, but knew exactly what I meant as they dug into Google Scholar.

I will happily celebrate Shakespeare's inventions, but those do not just belong to Great Britain.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL:

Warning: include(/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2011/03/our-official-new-words.php on line 525

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/sp/php7.2/lib/php') in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2011/03/our-official-new-words.php on line 525