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The Fluid Nature of Communication September 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Word Play, Writing & Writers.

What makes a word “real”?

Who decides whether “YOLO” is, in fact, a word?

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. ericjbaker - September 24, 2014

Interesting. Are Klingon and Esperanto “real” languages? They didn’t develop organically, yet some people speak them and are able to convey meaning and intent with them. Then there’s the question of whether a speaker or a listener gets to determine the meaning of a message. One reality is not the same as another reality, yet we all occupy the same time and place.



nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Hark! Thou hast a pointeth!
What light through yonder window break?

The fluid nature of language allows us to speaketh Elizabethan English no more.

ericjbaker - September 24, 2014

It doth sound like a speech impediment sometimes, doth it not?

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Yes! A little like a lissssp.

2. suzicate - September 24, 2014

This is interesting. I especially liked hearing how some words used to mean one thing and now mean something entirely different. People invented words so I guess they can change them, much akin to the different dialects of language. Most of us routinely use slang and know the meaning…however, I confess I almost always have to look up acronyms as I am just not up to speed.

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Terrific and terrible come to mind. They once had a far more positive connotation before they did an about face.

3. NancyTex - September 24, 2014

Multislacking might be my new favourite word!

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Yes! Great pick, NT. Hope you’re feeling better. A period of multislacking might be just what you need.

NancyTex - September 24, 2014

A trip to the spa might be just what I need. Hope to do so next week!

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

THAT sounds like a plan!

4. Judson - September 24, 2014

In the Carolina’s, when we say we were “Shagging” with our best girl, it means we were dancing at the beach. But, somehow, In the UK you get a funny reaction when you mention it … ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Great example of how one side of the pond doesn’t always know what the other side of the pond is doing.

5. Silver in the Barn - September 24, 2014

You know how I love words, dialects, and usages over the pond as compared to ours. Sooo many things to say about this awesome video. I despise the word “impactful”, just like our good professor does. And I adore “Recombobulate!!” Oh, this is was a most awesome post and I’m off to submit an application to the American Dialect Society. LOVED THIS!

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

Yay! Glad you enjoyed it, Barbara. I love recombobulate . . . discombobulated has long been a fave of mine.

And, I quite agree, impactful = perfectly awful.

6. Eric Tonningsen - September 24, 2014

This accounts for why I find myself referencing Urban Dictionary, especially when interacting with teens/young adults.

There’s another world of “real” out there… on a frequency to which some of us aren’t attuned. Phases/stages? Recall Valley Girl speak?

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

OMG . . . Totally!
Are you like serious?
Valley Girl speak is so totally last season. :mrgreen:

Eric Tonningsen - September 24, 2014

For we who once lived in SoCal, it never goes out of season. It’s like… so scratched into our heads. You know?

nrhatch - September 24, 2014


7. Grannymar - September 24, 2014

I do not mind new words, but changing the meaning of a well used word, baffles me.

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

A few of the examples she gave surprised me:

Nice = silly
Peruse = to read carefully
Notice = only a noun, not a verb

Others that sprang to mind: terrible, terrific, awesome, awful

One that might take some getting used to: hangry

Grannymar - September 24, 2014

Hangry actually made me smile, sounds like something my brothers would have said.

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

I thought it was adorkable!

8. Jill Weatherholt - September 24, 2014

This is great, Nancy…thanks for sharing! I think Eric Baker should write a new dictionary. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 24, 2014

There’s an idea! I’ve only coined one word . . . WONG!

WONG adj. 1 : Way Outlandish, Nearly Galactic 2 : unusually good

Synonyms : marvelous, astounding

9. brickhousechick - September 24, 2014

Multi slacking! I do a lot of that! Very interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

I hear ya! I’ve given up trying to pretend that I do any actual work: “Slack Slack Slack . . . they call her the slacker.” ๐Ÿ˜›

10. In the Stillness of Willow Hill - September 24, 2014

WONG post!

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Yay! My word is going viral. How WONG is that! :mrgreen:

11. Behind the Story - September 25, 2014

She starts out using the word “defriend,” which sounded strange to me. I looked it up, and unfriend is more popular, but there’s a heated debate about which word is right.

I used to live in a country, Vanuatu, in which the national language, Bislama, is a creole (a stable natural language that developed from a pidgin, in this case pidgin English.) You could almost see the language developing. Such fun!

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Same here, Nicki. Until seeing this video, I’d never heard or seen “defriend” just “unfriend.” Defriends still sounds “off” to my ears. Time will tell which word wins the debate.

I’m firmly in the “language fluidity is fun” camp.

12. JOriginal Muse - September 25, 2014

Now use these slangjectives (my own hybrid – me thinketh) correctly in a sentence: “Honey, you are so adorkable when you get hangry!”

Interesting how FaceBook has certainly changed the Face of that highly revered big Book in the library. Who knew that adding a prefix and a suffix to a noun would yield a re-nouned verb… however, I think I was being UNfriended as opposed to DEfriended… same difference, I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

Perfect sentence and usage, J! I never heard “defriend” before seeing this video. Just “unfriend” which seems well-established in my FB vocabulary.

13. Pix Under the Oaks - September 25, 2014

I love “adorkable”! When I am on the computer commenting I always have a tab open to check old Merriam-Webster and a tab for the Urban Dictionary.

nrhatch - September 25, 2014

My dictionary gets pulled a few times a day. If a word isn’t there . . . I google it and expand my vocabulary. I think you’re adorkable!

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