Thursday, January 14, 2010

Loquacious locavore lays into lexis lovers

There have been loads of interesting articles about language appearing in the mainstream media recently and this one from today's Daily Telegraph is no exception. In it, Christopher Howse argues that what he calls vogue words - words that are briefly fashionable but then die out - shouldn't be selected to define the era they're from.

What I am hinting at is that it is very easy to concentrate on neologisms that reflect the wilder shores of modern life. It's harder to spot defining markers of the way we live now. At the moment the temptation is to identify too many trends from new media – web-surfing, blogging, twittering and unfriending. They don't often last.

He's referring to such end of year and end of decade word lists as this one from the American Dialect Society or this one from the Australian Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year poll in 2008.

Instead of these vogueish, trendy and ephemeral words, he reckons we should wait a while and look a bit deeper before choosing words which define our times, and opts for farmers' market (well, he would seeing as he's writing for the Telegraph and probably owns a few hundred acres of prime farming land in Monmouthshire) and chav (which is probably my choice for word of the noughties). But class hatred aside, it's a good read and another fine style model for broadsheet op-eds. Huzzah!

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