It’s something you hear all the time (or maybe you’re the one saying it)—that the English language is going down the drain. With people inventing new words and acronyms like ‘lol’ we just know that we’re losing our grip on real English.
But not so. In her Ted Talk, language historian Anne Curzan, undermines the belief that new language, however crude, is somehow ruining the original language. Looking back through history we can see a plethora of words being introduced into English or being used in new ways. And it seems that it has always worried people. For example, Benjamin Franklin, all the way back in the 1700s, was worried about the use of the noun ‘notice’ being used as a verb, as in ‘He noticed that his beard had grown’.
This far along, Franklin’s concern about the word ‘notice’ seems ridiculous, but we hear the same things being said about new words today. What we don’t realise is how many words have been added to our language just recently. Words like ‘google’ as a verb or ‘email’ have become so common, but didn’t exist before we, essentially, made them up.
So maybe think twice before bad mouthing our new word use. And maybe learn some new words. Here are a few we think are particularly useful:
Watch Curzan’s full video here.