Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Verbal 'Shortcuts' Become Part of Everyday Language

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Verbal 'Shortcuts' Become Part of Everyday Language

Article excerpt

AS a journalist, I've found the manipulation of the English language and the varied connotations that can be formed by tweaking the nuances of common idioms to be most ... umm ... good.

You could say the English language is incredibly interesting.

You could also say its enthralling, fascinating, intriguing, remarkable, captivating, absorbing and other things I just used a Thesaurus to sound clever with.

One of the most enchanting (look, there's another one) things about languages like English is its ability to implement new words and phrases to keep up with modern society.

The thing is, much unlike Nickleback's entire musical output, English evolves.

Thank goodness for the Macquarie Dictionary people releasing a whole slew of new words to include in the next edition of the dictionary.

To me, if my dictionary hasn't bunged the term "Boyzillian Wax" (male pubic waxing) between "boysenberry" and "bozo", then quite frankly, it's not complete.

Unfortunately, the next addition will also include the great English tradition of "portmanteaus", lazily combining two existing words and claiming it's a new word.

Sure Macquarie, you can claim that "sexting", "shwopping" and "treggings" (tight leggings) are new words, but I've been on to your game ever since the term "brunch" was invented.

Thankfully, to make up for a bunch of silly new trends, Macquarie have also included a number of technical words to do with environmental and ecological matters to give the language a sense of maturity.

New words include "eco house", "ecoactivism", "ecocentrism", "ecofascism", "ecolabel", "ecophilosophy" and "eco-h my God, all they've done is put the word eco in front of existing words".

How ecolazy.

The main problem with an evolving language is that some evolve faster than historical accuracy can keep up with.

For example, say someone cries out: "we were absolutely decimated in that match!"

I doubt I could respond with "One-tenth of the team were killed? …

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