If you love literature, then you’re bound to love the dictionary (pun intended). It’s the oldest, thickest book of them all that allows writers and readers alike to channel their inner genius, but now, I’m calling all book geeks to unite. If only we could tap the tips of our pencils in some magical form to create a blinding protective barrier around the preposterous words that have been infiltrating the beloved, age-old pages of our favorite book, we could rest assured.
Unfortunately, the most ironic thing about this is that ten years ago, some of these words would have made absolutely no sense. In short, the dictionary is being filled to the brim with modernized expressions that all point to one pretty disturbing thing: We are officially overtaken by technology.
Last summer, the word ‘tweet’ made the cut as Merriam-Webster’s newest addition. Even worse is that until then, its newest inclusions consisted of popular AIM abbreviations uttered by tweens everywhere such as “LOL,” “OMG” and yes, “bling-bling.” According to a report at the time, the word secured its spot because it reflected high-tech advances as well as the “delicate nuances of family and social relationships,” as explained by a related article.
While social media and smartphones are at the forefront of everybody’s mind today, that doesn’t necessarily qualify words such as “YOLO” to be in the dictionary. It’s currently being debated where the wildly popular acronym ,“You Only Live Once,” originated from, but one thing’s for sure – it created an absolute culture shock.
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During the summer of 2012, it was also reported that Collins, a leading British dictionary publisher, had been considering new wordplay to stay afloat and ahead in the ever-evolving world of the English language. The only problem is that by considering top choices based off of such things as pop culture, science and technology, the dictionary could become more sensationalized rather than steadfast.
Alex Brown, head of digital at Collins, explained that “by allowing the public to truly participate, we’re ensuring that we stay on top.” Is allowing the public to submit words they deem “appropriate” the best idea, though?
The dictionary’s latest efforts in staying technologically tasteful, however, are speaking volumes toward a more eerie observation; our absolutely unhealthy dependency of it. The Oxford Dictionary today announced that its new Word of the Year for 2012 is “omnishables,” meaning “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”
It’s another word that slipped in, however, that has some concerned.
Included in the U.S. shortlist of words is nomophobia – or the anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone. How telling are these inclusions of the world’s current stance on technology is relative to the individual, but it seems that we’re all knee deep in quicksand here.
Edited by Brooke Neuman