Sarah Grace Goolden
Every year, new words are adopted officially into our language by the authority of Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary. This, of course, is the result of ever-growing technology and understanding. It reflects that we are a world that is constantly evolving and growing, never remaining stagnant or being content with current knowledge. There is always more to learn and think about. New words are the gateway to new information and better understanding one another. These are all great things. However, with the slew of new words that are accepted every year comes the slew of disgruntled responses.
Some people push back against new words. I think a big part of it is a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. It is 2019. Don’t we know everything we need to know? How can there be news words?
Some new words come from the modification of old ones. For example, the noun “suffragette,” meaning a woman who fought for the right to vote, now has the accompanying verb “suffragetting.”
William Shakespeare, known for his famous plays, gifted the English language 1700 words, including “bloodstained” and “satisfying.” The words he created are still words we use today.
A lot of these were not completely of his own imagination, just like some of our new words. Often, he combined two or changed a noun to a verb or adjective. By borrowing previously-established words, Shakespeare was able to better illustrate his point and create a clearer, more specific image. For example, the winter isn’t just cold, it’s freezing. The old house isn’t just gross, it’s covered in grime. The better we are able to express ourselves, the more others are able to understand us.
This way of thinking also applies to new technology and social advancements. The word “Colorism” was added to name the concept of favoring those with lighter skin. Of course, this concept itself isn’t new but now that it has a name that is recognized as a real practice, we can more cohesively talk about it.
Mostly, though, people get upset about words like “bae” being included in the dictionary. A lot of people think it makes kids sound uneducated. While these may seem like silly cultural trends, they are still a peek into the language of our time. Is it any different from “zozzled” from the 1920’s or “groovy” from the 70’s?
I think Shakespeare would approve of “vacay” and “chipmunky.” They provide more information or emotion to use when communicating with each other and I don’t see how that could be a bad thing. I say long live “finna.”