Sarah Palin once said, “The president and first lady have power in their words… They can refudiate what it is that the NAACP is saying.”
The word “refudiate” is not in the Oxford English Dictionary, but “LOL,” “retweet,” and “sexting” are. Unsurprisingly, all these words originated from the digital and social spheres online, and are becoming an accepted part of our vernacular faster than Microsoft Word can remove the red squiggly lines under them.
Language is always evolving. What would be considered “groovy” in the ‘80s or “the bomb” in the ‘90s would now be referred to as “epic.” Similarly, anything that was “lame” or a “bummer” is now simply a “fail.”
And of course, anything REALLY unfortunate is an “epic fail.”
Today, new words and slang travel faster than ever. With everyone in constant contact, pretty much anybody – particularly influential celebrities – can edit or add to the English lexicon (although “fetch” will never happen, so stop trying).
Some of the more scholarly elitists out there are probably pretty outraged that words like “grrl” and “innit” are going to be acceptable Scrabble words in the Hasbro game’s next dictionary update. I can’t say I blame them, but I guess the evolution (or de-evolution?) of our language is inevitable over many centuries.
Personally, I’m mixed on how I feel about the changes. While I don’t really see myself using the word “thang” instead of “thing,” some of the new additions can be useful and save precious time – why say “added as a friend” when you can just say “friended?”
Who knows what English speakers will sound ten, twenty, or thirty years from now? Are we going to communicate in nothing but grunts and mumbles? Or will we have a new synonym for “epic?” What should it be? Let me know in the comments section.