Recently, my boyfriend sent me an article entitled, “Why I Stopped Being a Grammar Snob.” At first I thought it was his less-than-subtle attempt at curbing my obsession with oxford commas, but it turned out to be an article riddled with all my favorite stuff: linguistics, semiotics, the power of the word “fuck”. It was just a great read, and a great reminder of why I like this thing called English.
I may be the only one on my facebook newsfeed who doesn’t groan as the Oxford English dictionary swells to include words such as “FOMO”, “selfie”, or “newsfeed” for that matter, but languages’ ever-evolving nature is what gives it life. Language literally inhales and exhales to accommodate the culture that creates it. The onslaught of online terms is natural given the time’s dependence on technology, just as abbreviations and hyperboles speak to the impatience and extremism that identify millennials.
Language is meant to communicate (duh). It’s used to articulate a message, yes, but also to articulate the messenger. It presents a code into our culture.
So. If we stopped all this scoffing and snobbery regarding the change of the English language, and actually stopped to think about how and why it was changing, that semiotic sojourn would teach us a lot about ourselves. And if you can’t do that, at least giggle at that fact that derp is now a word. Derp.