The Ever-Shifting Dictionary

The Ever-Shifting Dictionary

Danny Smith

Othello is by Shakespeare by the way

Danny Smith, Humor Columnist

English ain’t what it used to be.

The English language is rapidly shifting and changing every day, with “tweet” being added to the dictionary while “illegal immigrant” is being taken out of the Associated Press’ stylebook, a compendium of words used in its articles.

While it’s great that some words are being used less to promote human rights (which are good because most of us reading this are human (except that dog who keeps commenting “WoOf”)), some words are filling up these spaces that seem … superfluous.

I’d use more harsh words like idiotic or dumb or stupid to describe these words, but I totally can’t because writing those would be wrong on a school newspaper, wouldn’t it?

The word “superfly” has been introduced into the dictionary within the last few years. So has “bezzie” “lulz”, and “hobo bag”. These are awesome words.

But the shift in the language from a distinguished and beautiful (subjective) to a bland and stupid list of words is apparent. The words that have popped up may be stemming out from new technological terms.

Many wonder whether the dictionary should even validate “rofl” as an existing word. I rofl’d when I heard about that, though.

In all those English classes students taken/are going to take in high school, writing was beautifully crafted, the words rolling off the page and tongue. Passionate and loaded with hidden meanings, words used to be able to get a person’s true feelings across, and then some.

Now, meaning is gone and people are scared to express themselves because they don’t want to step on somebody’s toes. Yeah, curses, obscenities, prejudicial remarks, blasphemy and all that other stuff is more in circulation today than when Shakespeare had to find creative ways to say bawdy things.

However, the creativity in the language is what is being missed the most. Rappers rhyme curses with curses and English is slowly (well it’s quick at this point) losing its air of mystery. Also, the desensitizing to curses furthers this cycle.

Back when people “bit their thumb” at one another, which today translates to a not-too-terrible insult, it would have prompted a duel to the death.

So when 2013’s most used word is something other than “vuvuzela”, let’s hope it’s somewhere between “betwixt” and “swagbag.”