I sometimes hear people complaining about new words that pop up and appear in dictionaries and the reactions I’ve heard when LOL or OMG were added to the Oxford Dictionary years ago were priceless.
What these people fail to understand is that a language is dynamic. There will always be new inventions, ideas and terms that, after being coined, will become a part of our language and will end up being featured in a dictionary. This is all due to the fact that dictionaries are made to document the language which we use today and just like some words, phrases and expressions have died out over the last 100 years, so do new expressions appear and lexicographers record them to help us know their meaning. The dictionary doesn’t tell us what we SHOULD be using, it only shows us what we CAN use. We don’t greet each other by asking and answering “How do you do?” like the British did in the XIX century, do we?
When hundreds of thousands of computers suffered from the WannaCry ransomware attack, I’ve decided to make a lesson about it and other threats that people can get online and students were surprised to find out that what they called viruses and trojans can be grouped into one category: malware, and the software which we call an antivirus should technically only deal with these so-called viruses. I was surprised when I found out that the term “ransomware” is now a part of the Oxford English Dictionary, but that only means that people have started to use this term more often.
Or let’s look at mansplaining, which basically means arrogantly explaining something to people without thinking that they may know more than you do. I don’t necessarily think that this can only be done by a man to a woman. Being male or female doesn’t mean that you can’t behave badly and while I don’t approve the use of this term, I can do nothing about it but acknowledge its existence and that it’s now widely accepted in speech and writing.
I always look forward to new words being added to see what people use these days and how I can incorporate it to their learning experience and I know that even mistakes can end up becoming acceptable if so many people make them and even the expressions that are unusual to us may end up being useful at some point in our lives. So I’d like to ask you: which words or expressions do you think will become acceptable in the future and which of them do you use and why?