New Words – Verbal Memes. How unfriendly!

Reading in the London Metro today that the New Oxford American Dictionary has named ‘unfriend’ as word of the year.

The word has it’s place but in my opinion other words have been far more useful and taken up a much larger place in the vocabulary of the digital generation. Their argument is that it has moved into the ‘real’ world to be used as a term for severing ties with an ex or an old friend.

Technically, unfriend is a word that will apply on few occasions in a person’s digital and real world. Word of the year in my opinion should be more of a widely used word. A positive word maybe. The urban dictionary collates all these wonderful sayings. I will listen to them more than the Oxford American Dictionary as their ear is closer to the ground, and their contributors are more in touch with modern culture.

With words like hashtag and intexticated also on the short list it seems like their attempt to embrace a language alien to their heritage based roots is somewhat amiss.

Freemium and Funemployed were also listed in the economy sections. Two words I have never heard used, while deleb (a badly thought out term meaning a dead celebrity) and tramp-stamp (a term probably older than the dictionary itself) were up for novelty words.

Last year’s winner hypermiling which has something to do with being cheap with petrol is something I’ve never heard of too. Locavore on the other hand, which won in 2007, has some interest and should be used more as I know many people who like to eat only locally produced goods.

I hope the English Oxford Dictionary keeps it’s distinctions between slang and proper English as we go into a new era of language where new words are spoken and spread every day.

Now all I have to do is find a situation that needs a new word.

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