The Oxford University Press has announced that the 2013 Words of the Year are: selfie, twerk, showrooming, bitcoin, and binge-watch. It is interesting to see how the English language is so adoptive of new terms and continuously evolves and changes. Every year some type of term that seems to have sprung out of pop culture or technology becomes an official word. Some people may not understand what it means when Oxford University makes a term an official word. Once Oxford “gives the okay,” that word is no longer slang–it is a recognized and accepted term. It can now be found in dictionaries and can be used on a general and widespread manner.
It is strange to see which words are created year after year–I think one of my favorites that have been ‘knighted’ by Oxford is ‘bootylicious.’ This was a word that singer, Beyonce Knowles, made up while writing a song for her music group. English is a language that is very flexible in its use–it will easily adopt terms that have sprouted out of necessity or social circumstances. For example, a few years ago, Facebook became a noun and a verb–sometimes even an adjective. You hear people say “Facebook me that picture.” This did not exist twenty years ago, but now it does. The nature of the English language is very open compared to other tongues. French, for instance, is not so fluid in its creativity. It has many restrictions in terms of what is an official word and what is not.
So what’s your take on this? Is it a good thing that English is able to change and adapt? Or do you think the adoption of new terms is a hindrance?