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What remains of the 'They': New meanings instead of new words for new concepts can confuse old speakers

Inventing new words is definitely a less confusing and more creative way to capture or articulate emerging trends and realities.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 08, 2020, 08.55 AM IST
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Had our ancient ancestors resorted to the convention of merely repurposing old words rather than inventing new ones during the nascent stage of all languages, dictionaries would have remained the size of booklets rather than the thick tomes they are now.
Time was when words were exactly what the dictionary and the rules of grammar deemed them to be; that is no longer the case.

With ‘They’ — read as the non-binary singular pronoun, not plural — declared the Word of the Decade (and 2015’s Word of the Year), it is clear that the English language continues to evolve. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, participles and even gerunds are dancing to different tunes, especially among woke folks. Though brand new words still do enter popular discourse, more disconcerting for conventional speakers of English and other languages, however, is the practice of simply commandeering commonly used words in order to express contemporary concepts. The expropriation of words such as booty, tweet, troll, queer and more — when newer words would have been more expressive — bespeak a certain semantic sloth.

Language is like cooking and music: all these human talents progressed beyond the basics due to inventiveness, not adaptation. Inventing new words are definitely a less confusing and more creative way to capture or articulate emerging trends and realities. Had our ancient ancestors resorted to the convention of merely repurposing old words rather than inventing new ones during the nascent stage of all languages, dictionaries would have remained the size of booklets rather than the thick tomes they are now.

From Laugh-Cry To Climate Emergency: How Oxford's 'Words Of The Year' Define The Times We L...

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2019

4 Dec, 2019
As 2019 draws to a close, Oxford Dictionary has released its word of the year. And fittingly, in a year dominated by crises relating to nature and its fury, the word of 2019 is ‘climate emergency’. The dictionary said, “Usage of the phrase ‘climate emergency’ increased steeply over the course of 2019, and by September, it was more than 100 times as common as it had been the previous year.” Which brings us to the next natural question: What was the corresponding trending word for the years gone by?
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