Our language just continues to morph


English is a mutt of a language.

It has long been a living, breathing organism that is a conglomeration of older languages and new terms, brought together to formulate a means of communication that is spoken, read and written by people across the globe. People have long considered English to be the most difficult language to both learn and master, and I have little doubt inside me that this is truly the case.

We have strange rules of grammar that don’t always stay consistent, homonyms, synonyms, similes, metaphors ... you name it. There is “I before C except after E” unless it isn’t. There is “-” and “—” and “;” and all kinds of other forms of hieroglyphics that are in constant question over usage. It’s all rather baffling, to be sure.
When we are in doubt over a word, we have that time-tested tool available to us known as the dictionary. Its pages contain proper spellings of words, examples of a particular word’s usage and cool little pronunciation aids that tell us the right way to pronounce said word. We also see dictionaries as the guardians of the English language — basically, if it isn’t in the dictionary, it’s not an accepted word.

Subsequently, the dictionary, like our language itself, is a constantly-evolving entity. The Oxford English Dictionary, which bills itself as “The definitive record of the English language,” recently released its list of new words that made the cut in their pages. Not surprisingly, the rise of the Internet and technology has spawned new “words” into the English lexicon.

For instance, Oxford is now including “LOL” (shorthand in Internet-speak for “laughing out loud”), “OMG” (Oh my God), “IMHO” (in my humble opinion) and “BFF” (best friends forever). Granted, I’ve always considered these to be initialisms more than words, but here we are today.

Oxford is also including new figures of speech in its annals. “Smack talk” is now within the accepted terms by Oxford, and describes “boastful or insulting banter.” Those individuals who spend their time on the couches of friends or relatives rather than homes of their own are considered to be “couch surfing.”

Also making the cut this year is “la-la land” — which is described by Oxford as a noun and “can refer to Los Angles, or to a state of being out of touch with reality — and sometimes to both simulataneously.”

LOL.

Sorry, I was just getting caught up in the excitement of all these newly-accepted words and terms. It’s like when you are young and first start learning curse words. You might not be entirely sure what they mean or how to properly use them, but you’re sure going to toss them around as much as possible and ...

But I digress.

“Non-dom” makes the cut this year, as well. This is short for “non-domiciled,” which refers to a person living in a country in which he or she is not legally domiciled, usually in order to accrue tax advantages, according to Oxford. Initially, I had thought this was some kind of domination thing...

Oops, already digressed this week.

The word “fabless” also makes it into Oxford this year. Now, my first thought was that this is a term to describe somebody who is indeed not fashion-fabulous — perhaps a tall Eskimo who wears flip-flops in the winter and is, in my estimation, building a super computer at his home that can take over the world’s economy at a moment’s notice, or at least give him an edge while playing World of Warcraft. But, no. Fabless is an adjective used to describe a technology company that does not do its own manufacturing. So, I guess this sums up nearly any tech company not located in China.
OMG. IMHO, my BFF Shaun Lambert will not like my last joke directed at him. But it made me LOL.

See, I’m getting it.