Tuesday, 3 January 2017

In a word

Language is in a constant state of flux, of evolution - a fact I have bewailed before now. We lose words as they drop our of use; many youngsters would be flummoxed by that very word! And words like 'thee' and 'thou' have fallen by the wayside. At the same time (or maybe not), some words change their meaning. Some people, especially youngsters, might be flummoxed by the phrase 'with gay abandon' now that 'gay' no longer means bright and cheery.

But not all is doom and gloom.  As we lose some words and others change their meaning, we also gain words. Words like 'sexting', which I gather means taking indelicate photographs of oneself and sending them by mobile phone to someone else.  I have never sexted (is that really the past participle?) partly because my mobile phone is archaic and is only any good for making and receiving calls, but also because I don't know anybody whom I dislike sufficiently to harass them with indelicate pictures of myself.

Another word that has been invented, or perhaps I should say coined, during the past few months is Brexit, spelt with a capital B. I know what that means.  Our prime minister has told us that Brexit means Brexit.  So now you know as well.

A new word that has got me confused (I nearly typed 'flummoxed') is 'post-truth'. To my simple mind, the addition of the prefix 'post' simply means 'after', as in 'post-war'. Another 'post' that gets me going is 'post-modernism'. Doesn't 'modern' mean 'up to date'?  How can anything be 'after up to date'?  And what comes after truth I simply cannot imagine. And I don't think I would want to even if I could.

So there you have it - in a word.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I read this yesterday BP and resolved to bring back the unused words just for you. However, you clearly influenced me more than I had realised as the word I chose was FLUMMOXED! Back to the drawing board I guess ...

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Flummoxed is still a delightful word.
It can be used in an acronym like WTF.