WEYBURN - The addition of social media to our lives over the past two decades has changed the way we speak to a certain degree.
Zoom is now a program or “app” (application), instead of what a race car does. “What time are we zooming?” would have meant something completely different 20 years ago as it does today.
When you “tag” someone, it has nothing to do with running around chasing your friends.
“Texting” someone is an every day occurrence, but it would have caused my parents’ generation some confusion. Text was something found in books and manuals.
“Tweet” was the sound a bird makes, and “retweet” would have baffled the best of linguists.
As an avid word enthusiast, I find it interesting how we can bend the rules of the English language to suit what we are trying to convey.
I overheard someone say that they would “at” someone in a social media post. This simply means that they would add an @ symbol before that person’s name in order to draw attention to the post. Using “at” as an action verb surely brings a quizzical look from any English teacher and a lesson from the grammar police.
Teens and young adults have grown up with this lingo, and those of us who are older and trying to understand it often have to have an interpreter. Thankfully I have two of them, aged 18 and 23.
I’m reminded of the story of the mother who messaged her son that his grandmother had passed away. At the end of the message she typed “LOL”. The son was horrified that his mother was “laughing out loud” at his granny’s death. When he asked his mother if she knew what “LOL” meant, she replied “lots of love”. It was a very honest mistake, and even slightly humorous.
Even though some of the modern words and phrases used with technology need interpretation (and are often cringe-worthy to my self-appointed grammar police position), it is indeed a progression in language, and progression is necessary.
If not for progression of language, we would still be speaking Shakespearian. And just a note, I would be totally okay with that.