Thursday, August 30, 2012

The death of the English language?

When I was growing up, I loved to look up words in the Oxford English Dictionary, which we happened to have a copy of (as my mother was a college English teacher, specializing in Victorian literature). Indeed, at one point I seriously considered studying linguistics and semantics, as I love language and words.

But, after being sent an article about some of the latest words to be included in the Oxford English Dictionary (or OED) -- hat tip, which happens to be one of the new phrases, to friend of the blog D. -- I have to say, this is not my mother's dictionary. And I am not happy.

Vajazzle? Really? How many people (outside those who watch the British reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex) actually use or know that word? And how many people will still be using this word five or 50 years from now? Which douche (yet another new word) thought it would be brilliant to include that gem? And can we vote him off the island?

Granted, not all the new words seem ridic (like ridic). Inbox, ripped, and video chat all make sense to me. But do you really need a special entry for date night? And is mwahahaha even a word? And lolz? (Please note, I am not laughing.) But whatevs (which was added last month).

Do these words really belong in the Oxford English Dictionary? (The Urban Dictionary, definitely, but the OED? Not so much, IMHO.)

I don't know about all of you, fellow lovers of the English language, but I could use a group hug about now.

Note: You can find a list of all the words the OED added this August here.


Anonymous said...

Vajazzle . . . thank goodness there isn't an illustrated OED.

Dave S. said...

Great minds think alike.

PS - Dear word verification, I'll be happy to prove I am not a robot but at least give me something I can barely read.

Nina Kaufman said...

It may not be the death of the English language, so much as an evolution. And as in all evolutions, we lose things that were once very handy--like wings--and gain things that just seem dopey--like cellulite. We lose "equivocate" and we gain "BS." I'm sighing with you, J.