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Dynamics of Language: New Words

Posted by Admin on 2017-02-02 08:17:05

Dynamics of Language: New Words

To see language in it its broad scope is like seeing a picture of human civilization in a shell. Produced out of human culture to convey information, language apparently also adapts to its belonging society. It is safe to say then, that any language spoken by mankind this time is as alive as its users are. It breathes and it grows.

Covered in the development of language is alteration of words meaning. Sometimes the changes are noticeable, other times, you might not have fathom that throughout history words don’t always mean the same. Take this word fathom. While it is just used in a previous sentence above, the word refers to a figure of speech for one’s attempt to understand something profoundly after given much thought. Long before used that way, the origin was estimated from one’s outstretched arms, by which unit length then used to measure the depth of water. The key here is depth, and whence came the metaphor.

In some cases, words also semantically undergo certain transformations—talk about either its broadened or narrowed meaning over time. Somehow it has generally known that one doesn’t consume alcohol if he said, “I don’t drink”, rather than that he doesn’t imbibe any liquids whatsoever. An interesting word far implied from its starting point is minority. In America, the word taken as a racial reference to colored ethnic was once had a different meaning. It is used to indicate the smaller portion of the whole number. The way minority is hardly used in its old sense anymore explains its present-day usage referring to the colored groups, even that technically, the so-called minority has outnumbered the whites.


Besides the shifting in words meaning of which transformations almost feels intuitive, language evolution leads to open doors of newly coined terms as well. When it comes to a brand-new word department, young generation often comes up with newfound terms that usually denoting popular happenings at their time. For an instance, back to 2013, the word selfie is a modern phenomenon of a self-portrait photograph flourishing worldwide. In 2009, the word unfriend, which literally means “to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site such as Facebook”, has even made it into Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year. For better or for worse, these dynamics of language toward colloquialism is inevitably natural, for it is just another picture of human historical story at which technology, attitudes, and values are all encapsulated our unique place in culture.

llustration: Pexels