The Ever-Evolving English Language

Whether we like it or not, the English language is constantly changing. When a new word makes its debut, another one will fall out of use. The introduction of new words is an inevitable necessity to keep in-line with evolving technology and culture, and the rise in the popularity of social media has also helped to spread the usage of new words. The Oxford Dictionary has 750,000 words with definitions, and this month a further 500 words will be added. Some of them will prove familiar to you or you may even use them yourself, whilst many may seem quite unusual.

We’ve selected a few of our favourite new additions from the past year to share with you.

Digital Detox | A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical word.
This very much sums up the world we live in, and the fact that a word needs to be created to describe the respite from technology, indicates just how much we need it.

Selfie | A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
Everyone is at it – remember that infamous photo of David Cameron, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Barak Obama? The concept of a selfie isn’t new, but with cameras now on even the most basic phones, its popularizing means that a word has finally been coined to describe this modern-day craze.

Twerk | To dance to popular music in a provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
Who can forget the ‘dance’ Miley Cyrus performed at last year’s VMAs? Even if you didn’t see it, the media was awash with reports of this new dance fad, reminiscent of the public outcry following the twisting craze in the 1960s. In fact, the phrase twerk isn’t new and has been borrowed from the Hip-Hop culture of the 1980s.

The English language isn’t comprehensive and there are still an infinite amount of words yet to be coined. Take, for example, the Scottish word ‘Tartle’ the panicky hesitation just before you introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember, or the Flilipino word ‘Gigil’ to squeeze something because it’s unbelievably cute. And, with linguistics experts at Aston University beginning a new quest to uncover the next most-popular word, it won’t be long before a plethora of new terms are entering our vocabulary, and more dusty old terms disregarded.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please tell us about some of the new words you love – or love to hate – plus any old favourites that are falling into dis-use.

By Hannah Noakes, PR Executive
(Connect with Hannah here)

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