I’m sort of fascinated by dictionary purists who bemoan the use of any word not found in the OED when you consider the origin of so many words in our language.

These are the same sorts of people who fawn over William Shakespeare for creating ‘tranquil’ and ‘gossip’, yet any modern writer who dares to turn a noun into a verb is scoffed at as uneducated swine. It’s fascinating that we hold so much value to the words that exist that we’re reluctant to see new ones form. They’ll begrudgingly accept a few, things that had no purpose before (adding the word ‘internet’ following its invention). But fuck you if you want to use ‘oranged’ to describe something that turned orange - that’s not a word. That’s not proper English.

Even though there is a precedent for it. Even though nearly every other colour can be used as a verb (you can blue metal and your face can redden), orange hasn’t, so you can’t use it.

Taking patterns in English and expanding them or taking things that aren’t uniform and making them uniform. We have ‘terrestrial’ and ‘celestial’, and changing one to match the other. ‘Terestial’, perhaps. I’ve always thought that ‘mer’, for ‘ocean’, could be adapted into a similar sounding word to the other two. The way we’re taught to think of words and language now makes this seem silly and strange, yet this is how a great many words came to be - and is perhaps the source of every alternate spelling our language has to offer. Fitting a pattern or defining a new one.

It just bothers me to see people treat language as though it is defined by the dictionary, instead of the other way around. And it makes me sad to see how few writers create new words or use old ones in new ways. They’ll search the depths of the OED to find a beautiful word nobody’s used in centuries instead of creating their own. One that better suits the times and the context they want to use it in.

September  28   ( 161 )   +
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    I guess what stops me as a writer from making up my own words is that I rely heavily on spell-checker. A terrible habit,...
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    Of course language changes. Language always changes. The problems come when people use this as an excuse to make up...
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    I really only have qualms when the new “words” people use don’t even make sense, like “irregardless” which kind of...
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