Welcome to another mind-expanding installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.
Around this time each week, wails of self-flagellation and angst begin seeping out of the bunker’s down-low ventilation ducts.
Why all these newfangled words?
Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed back during the glory days, long before inexplicably naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?
Thankfully, even if one toils for the Bright Sun of the 21st Century, a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition.
No, not at all. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.
Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information, squelch community dialogue and flee the council chamber before being forced to endure dissenting words uttered by grubby martini-swilling constituents, can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate TIFs, CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.
This week, crimes against language — and no, I’m not speaking about the New Albany City Hall web page.
Totes annoying: words that should be banned, by Justin Myers (The Guardian)
The internet is the source of many crimes against language – and these are among the worst offenders
We all have a watershed word – the word that tells us it’s all over, that the internet has won, and our youth is gone for ever. For me, it was Yolo, or You Only Live Once. It was born, I used it, and rooms fell eerily silent as soon as it left my mouth. Yolo belonged to the others, the younger people; it carbon-dated me and I was envious.
You might call it snobbery but, for me, every delicious new bit of slang reminds me I’m being left behind, along with VHS cassettes, legwarmers and Lady Gaga. Susie Dent, Countdown’s resident lexicographer, tells me I should lighten up. “Slang has always moved this way,” she says. “From Cockney rhyming slang to codes swapped among highwaymen, they’re tribal badges of identity, bonding mechanisms designed to distinguish the initiated, and to keep strangers out.” The linguist and author David Crystal agrees: “Remember the old maxim – the chief use of slang is to show you’re one of the gang.”
Fine: I’m not one of the gang. But surely even the experts would admit there are some words that urgently need to be retired, or at least restricted to people under 25? “If a term becomes too popular, its irritant value is ramped up,” Dent agrees. “The impulse is then to replace it with something else.”
This, then, is my highly subjective glossary of words that should be binned in 2017 – the most annoying, the most misused, the most broken. Is one of these your “Yolo”? It’s a hotly contested field.