Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Words My Grandmother Would Never Know

I was wandering through CNN today, reading a few stories so that my brain doesn't turn into mush. Keep up on the old current events, eh what. I read about the young woman in California who was recently rescue from her captor and how she was on chatting anonymously with other users (unwisely, I should think), and put a selfie.

Next to selfie was the parenthetical - a picture that a person takes of themselves.

I giggled and moved on to a story about how American's seem to be moving towards pot legalization and how 4 in 10 American's had taken a toke in their lives.

I started to think about all the words I use in my every day language interactions that my Grandmother would not know. Selfies, Facebook, status, Instagram, PM, cloud, thumb drive/flash drive, terabyte, mobile, geocaching, geolocate, toke, eInk, ebooks, Obamacare, birther... which then leads to the phrases she wouldn't know. "Slow your roll", "Fail", "Whatevs," "Carbon Neutral", "LOL", "TMI"...

It's just amazing how quickly our language changes. Most of the words up there didn't exist 5, 6 years ago. You didn't know that you could post a selfie on facebook from the cloud so that you didn't have carry the thumb drive anymore, but it was cool that you could geolocate yourself. Grandma would NOT have understood what I just wrote there and she was no dummy.

I think it would be fun to keep a list of words that come into our language and go out. And how the meanings of some of them change. "Gay" is of course one of the famous ones. But there are others. "Fag" used to mean a bundle of kindling-- here in the US it's a derogatory term for a gay person; in the UK it means cigarette.

Words fascinate me.

Grandma had a phonograph, a record player, until the day she moved into the nursing home. And used it often. How many kids know what a phonograph is? If you call it a record player, they'll probably say, "Oh, yeah my parents have one of those. It plays those vinyl discs, rights?"

Seriously, kid. I'm not that old. I had a record player.

I guess I should wait to blow a kids mind some day when I tell them that I was born before the World Wide Web...

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