Friday, February 13, 2009

New and Fascinating Verbs

I am a language person. I love grammar, diagraming sentences, basically all the stuff you hated in middle school. (I am using you as a general term, because surely there is anther big geek out there, just like me who likes to imagine what reading was like before the vowel shift.)

Anyway, I love the fluidity of language. There will always be debates over words like ain't, but other words flow right into and out of our lexicon without our notice being piqued. Words like Coke and mouse take on meanings bigger than before. Words like motherboard and touchscreen evolve out of seeming nothingless. And then there is the fading of once popular words: cellular, anyone.

But what I am amused at today is the way we can make anything a verb. I was just conjugating text when it occured to me how absurd this would have sounded just a decade ago. For instance, when I was in high school and the cell phone existed, but no one under the age of 30 had one to my knowledge, and there was little to it, other than dial and talk. While we would have not been overwhelmed by the concept of texting (we did have chat rooms after all), we would have at least snickered if someone said "I just texted her, she'll text back in a minute."

And what about friending. That is possibly my favorite. I get all excited when I see someone I know on facebook and friend them and then I go home and tell The Husband, I just friended so-and-so from high school (who he never remembers, by the way. All of you who went to high school with us, it doesn't matter who you hung out with more, I will remember you better.)

There used to an example in one of the books I loved about grammar (Elements of Style, maybe) about mg-ing. Apparently, it's a car thing. I had never heard that and couldn't imagine anyone being pretentious enough to say it. But that's before I was busy texing my brother and friending my mom.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Bob, I remember you, but I'm sure Jessi remembers you better.

Glad I found your blog. Very funny stuff. (the parts that are supposed to be funny)