Monday, January 6, 2014

New Words Enter the Language in 2013

Every year has its distinct contributions to colloquial American English.  News stories, celebrities, and popular culture trends all have their lingo, and often a word from those realms escapes its shackles of anonymity and is taken to the world's heart.  The following list lays out which words were newly minted, portmanteau'ed from a pair of existing words, or simply acquired a whole new meaning this year.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Wall Street Journal

Link to article:
The Words Which Popped in 2013

Excerpt: "Rather than bemoaning the frothy and fleeting nature of new words and phrases, however, we can embrace it. The effervescence of language, the constant churning of those bubbles, serves as evidence of something more enduring: the always-present creativity of our word-making faculties, innovating in ways both serious and playful to find novel ways of labeling social phenomena and experiences.

And at a time plagued by anxieties over how our communications are being monitored, with our data perhaps stashed away in some secret National Security Agency facility, there is great solace to be found in ephemerality. As my Wall Street Journal colleague Farhad Manjoo wrote in his tech column last week, services such as Snapchat are taking advantage of a newfound interest in 'ephemeral messaging': interactions that leave hardly a trace. Let us pause to look back at some of those ephemeral messages that bubbled up in 2013.

Where better to start than with the words we use for online chatter? Since the way we converse with each other electronically is very much in flux, the metalanguage we use to talk about such talk is changing too. Those keeping track of the latest Twitter trends, for instance, would have noticed the rise of the 'subtweet': Short for 'subliminal tweet,' it is the equivalent of talking behind someone's back, tweeting about a person without including his or her Twitter handle.

A more malicious kind of online interaction goes by the label 'catfishing,' which hit the news back in January, when Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o was revealed to have been the victim of an elaborate online hoax. When someone is 'catfished,' a love interest turns out to be nothing more than a fabricated identity on social media. MTV continues to air a reality series called 'Catfish,' spun off from the documentary that gave the phenomenon its name, but interest dropped precipitously after the Te'o story passed.

The Internet meme of the moment goes by the name of 'doge' (a whimsical misspelling of 'dog'), in which images of the fluffy Shiba Inu breed of dog are overlaid with enthusiastic, if ungrammatical, exclamations—heavy on words like 'such,' 'much,' 'very' and 'wow.' The 'doge' meme may have already run its course, though, as it has already seeped into the halls of power. Earlier this week, Rep. Thomas Massie (R, Ky.) tweeted, 'Much bipartisanship. Very spending. Wow. #doge.'

Politicians appropriating the latest in online slang is nothing new, though. Back in April 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played along with a satirical blog called "Texts from Hillary" by sending her own text to the blog. 'Nice selfie,' she wrote, referring to a photo that one of the blog's creators had taken of himself.

Mrs. Clinton (or rather, whichever young staffer helped her compose that text) was clearly ahead of the pack, as 2013 became the year of the 'selfie.' As a slangy term for a cellphone self-portrait, 'selfie' originated more than a decade ago in Australia, where the '-ie' diminutive suffix runs rampant. But when even Pope Francis is posing with well-wishers for a 'papal selfie,' the word has clearly arrived. President Obama may wish the word never existed: After Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt snapped a casual photo with him at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, it sparked a mini-controversy dubbed 'Selfie-gate.' "

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