aj-mal
22nd October 2015

#wtf?

#OMG, wot is happening 2 da English language?
#wtf?
Photo: Alex Brown @Flickr

Wine o’clock, NBD, bants and manspreading may not sound like ‘proper’ English, but all make it into the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. They reflect the rapid evolution of words and phrases that are occurring as a result of our desire to text and email frequently and not type long, complicated words and sentences.

Our dependence on phones and computers has lead to thousands of new abbreviations and words being created, and it is often hard to keep up to date with an increasingly diverse, but also often incomprehensible text language.

One negative aspect of this language change is the increased difficulty for many people to write ‘proper’, intelligible English. Words and phrases such as ‘lol’, ‘wtf’, and ‘lmfao’ are heavily used, but inserting them into an essay or dissertation is not a good idea. However, whilst these phrases are not considered part of the English language, many are now being officially recognised.

The Oxford English Dictionary was first published in 1884, and contains over 50 million words. New words are now being added to the dictionary at an unprecedented rate, with 1,000 new entries in the quarterly August 2015 edition.

This reveals the phenomenal rate of language development that we are currently witnessing, with new words, abbreviations and linguistic innovations every day. While some tongue twisters and confusing abbreviations will undoubtedly arise, a great number of words and phrases are easier to use and more flexible than those that they have replaced.

Students, as a large, intelligent group of people who are also heavy phone and social media users, are at the forefront of language innovation. So let your creative juices flow, and one day you may see a word or phrase you created in a future edition of the Dictionary!


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