A summary of the articles
Johnson. Why words die: The economist. How to keep lexical treasures from keeling over
Key words: Extinct, lexicon, Zymome, DARE, homogenizing, Standardization
When people think that language is dynamic and grows on a daily basis, Johnson (para. 2) has a separate idea as he shares reasons as to why words die. Johnson’s argument conforms to the narrative of obsolescence where words keep dying drastically and gradually. The society, with time, finds such words missing but no one cares why they are missing, and no efforts have been made to keep them live. The English have a unique and unusual lexicon as they conquered swathes of Earth in Africa, America and Asia at the same time. However, this only happened after the Norman French and the Vikings conquered the English. Due to the turn of events, Johnson (para. 3) alludes to the fact that there was the full entry of new words that made their way into the standard language. This changed the outlook of the English language and the existing dictionaries at the time.
Researchers have as well captured many words, which were never put down by the OED. The argument of new words having an entry into standard languages is more agreeable to the research done by Lindsay Kolowich who wrote more about the evolution of language. Kolowich argues that phrases and words that emanate from internet slang have additionally been introduced in the dictionary one year after another. Based on this argument, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) provided an opportunity for researchers to conduct interviews. They noted that a word that was small and more local was likely to be expunged from the society. The trend has been made possible due to the growing young generation that prefer the metropolitan norms. Other factors still contributed to this homogenising trend including the emergence of the American popular culture, advertisements and the global mass media that appeared active in the 20th century.
In the light of expunging some words from the system, Johnson (para. 5) states that some of them were never a significant loss to the DARE dictionary. The OED has the term known as “respair”, which can be used both as a verb and a noun that meant the possible return of hope. However, the dictionary is said to date back in the year 1425 (Johnson Para. 7). Most of the English speakers felt comfortable doing away with the term believing better terms can be used instead. The same applies to the change and the growth of English language through the internet. While television and radio would spread such terms gradually, the internet is exceptionally viral, and one word introduced at one site will spread very fast to other websites. The millennials have introduced their terms and dumped some of the words that dominated in the year 1980 and beyond. Perhaps, the elimination of some words, as learned through the course, is something that finds no one to blame in due course. This means that every season or time has its nature that cannot be hampered or hindered through any possible means. However, some of them bear a unique origin that is rare to most of the English speakers. Such words include the forgettable words from Greek like suppeditate, which appeared during the inkhorn times of the English word-coinage.
The mulligrubs thinking has formed the platform where people tend to forget about the great words that are slowly dying and bear a fading subscription to DARE. Perhaps, the lexicographers found reasons of adding words to the long known online edition. However, words need to be actively used, which is something that has paved the way for the slang changes on the internet as supported by Lindsay Kolowich. However, the English researchers might find it disappointing to ignore the trend of expunging words and introducing others to the system. This is the same reason as to why DARE has opted to team up with known podcast producers in creating a list of the endangered American regionalisms. No one is willing to bend down to the boring homogenization, and few of the lexical rarities can bring back some of the hopes for the custodians of the English vocabulary. The same goes for the influence of media, which can bring a change by cutting off the trend of ignoring some words or introducing others as one way of responding to dynamics in the society.
Johnson (para. 8) bears in mind that new authors might find it more stylistic to tune to the taste of modern generation, which is something that is happening on the internet. Delving or hampering the trend of expunging words from the dictionaries might be an uphill for the English researchers who agree to the fact that the society has every reason to avoid or introduce new words in the system.
Kolowich, Lindsay, The Evolution of Language: How Internet Slang Changes the Way We Speak.
Keywords: slang, evolution, internet changes, acronyms, anthropologists
While Johnson (para. 3) seems to be disturbed by the way the society finds its way of ignoring some of the English words, Lindsay Kolowich presents a separate voice of reason all the same. Kolowich (para. 1) captures the keyword “slang”, which attracts a separate meaning when exploring the internet use. Slang is merely a type of language comprising of both the words and phrases dubbed informal and more common in speech than it does in writing. Such words and phrases are only restricted to a particular group, time or specific context. Kolowich presents an understanding of the changes that have appeared on the internet with regards to the use of English words, which would reflect a different meaning from the one known through dictionaries. Some of the abbreviations such as YOLO and FOMO have been stretched into other parts of speech said to be different from the intended one. Perhaps, the new technological terms are threatening keywords in the dictionary understood for a specific meaning at a point in time. Common words brought in by technology include cyberbullying, crowdfunding and selfie among others. The use of these words is appropriate and present meanings in the modern context. It is of note that English researchers might find it hard to keep volumes of the dictionaries as a result of the entry of new words. This is the same reason captured by Johnson (para. 9) stating that lexicographers have developed a trend of adding words to the entire online edition.
Kolowich (para. 4) questions whether the internet is the one that has played the crucial role in changi9ng the way people talk. The internet is not the absolute phenomenon, but it stands out as the most dominating phenomenon. In the light of media channels, telephones, radio and televisions have had their space as well and grab a fair share concerning engaging new phrases into the reigning lexicon. Examples include the phrase Ta Ta For Now (TTFN), which was commonly used by a radio series in the 1940s known as “It is That Man Again”. However, this does not form the core reason as to why there is more slang in writing today than it was before. This is comparable to the assertions introduced by Johnson (para. 8) alluding to the fact that people have a way of changing the words such as “to wend” into “to go”. The same reasoning applies to the Kolowich (para. 5) argument, where the author argues that internet has created a platform where people find it reasonable to make use of slang both in writing and talking.
Kolowich (para. 6) notes that people spend more time on the internet than they do regarding listening and watching the radio and television respectively. The Internet is very fast in terms of adopting new words. This means that even the use of language is always sped up through the internet as far as the millennials are put into consideration. Slang, has, for decades occupied the anthropologists and the linguists. According to the research conducted by Jacob Eisenstein, it is evident that social media is moving words around the world. This means that language is rapidly changing in the face of the new technologies thereby paving the way for the possible transmission of the voluminous slang terms. This is the same reason provided by Johnson (para. 6) who pointed out that the standardisation prowess has turned linguistic habits into national norms. Such norms carry an emotional connection to the origin, which is the same narrative that applies to the spread of the American popular culture through the social media.
Kolowich (para. 13) takes note of how slang has made its entry into the dictionary. The author denotes that longevity defines the success of the new world. This means that the only way words can make it to the dictionary is by allowing populations to make use of it from time to time. Words such as LOL are becoming common, and they will soon find a better meaning in the mainstream vocabulary. Dictionary is also a living and breathing document that makes slangs to be real words even if they were informal before. ‘
Johnson. Why words die: The economist. How to keep lexical treasures from keeling over. 4th March, 2017. http://www.economist.com/news/boooks-and-arts. Accessed 10th May, 2018.
Kolowich, Lindsay. The Evolution of Language: How Internet Slang Changes the Way We Speak. http://blong.hibspot.com/marketng/how-internet-changes-language. Accessed 10th May, 2018.