You may have heard the news this morning that several new words have been added into the Oxford English Dictionary – what’s your take on them? Do you think they contribute towards linguistic creativity?
New words always cause controversy – some believe that the dictionary is no place for slang and should be reserved for formal, well-established words that have stood the test of time. The dictionary is, after all, the bible of language, the solid foundation on which communication is built – even if nowadays it only gets used to check if a suspicious looking word played in Scrabble is legitimate or not.
New words added in August 2015:
Should we be fighting the addition of new words to our language? Surely it reflects the evolution of us as humans and the world around us? Or is it a sign of us getting lazy with language? 2 years ago, the word ‘selfie’ was inaugurated into the dictionary, and was accompanied by tuts all round. I’m the first person to put my hands up and admit I pulled a face when I first heard the news – as a language enthusiast I thought it my duty to protect our sacred language and keep out new-fangled nonsense! But then the cogs in my head started turning and I began to think of all the words, phrases, idioms and sayings that have entered the English language in the past few years. “Social networking” was an unknown concept 10 years ago – not to mention “emoji”, “ecommerce”, “SEO”, “gamification”, and “e-learning”.
Do these words have an equivalent in other languages? In another of our blog posts, we explore the idea of there being, or not being, a word for everything and how translators often have to communicate a concept that doesn’t exist in other cultures – this is, essentially, localisation. There’s also a concept of “untranslatable” – single words that don’t have an equivalent one-word translation into other languages.
Language will never stop evolving, and there’ll always be the challenge of understanding and interpreting elements from other cultures and countries that are unknown to us. A challenge that, as a language service provider, we must take on every day to ensure our customers make themselves heard across the globe.