Monday, November 17, 2008

"I Said 'Em-E-Aitch'"

So big fucking news, "meh", the popular demi-word that expresses apathetic reaction to situations or exclamations, is already a word by itself.

I can't remember but perhaps there was a time when including a word on the dictionary was something relevant and even exciting to some; on the pre-internet ages, language, no matter what language, was something completely serious and erudite even, learning the correct uses and spellings of words was a matter that separated the boys from the men, the men from the animals and so on; it was something very strict and even pompous to many. Now, and this has to do with my first reaction to this "news" item, nobody gives a crap about language, as long as a word is accepted massively, it's not only well viewed but also accepted. This is the case with "meh".

I'm not here to preach about the days of old (the ones i wasn't yet born to have witnessed) or to say how shitty people speak and write today, but rather about how easy it is for words to become not only part of our daily lives but also part of our sciences and practices. Like i said, i can't remember when and if it was actual news that a word got included in the dictionary, but it seems now that if a TV character or an internet fad (that may be taken by a TV character later on) gives us a misspelled, misappropiated or plainly a brand new vocalization of a sense or emotion into a word, then a year or two later it's in the dictionary. Why? Is this really progress? Is it the way to go?

On the one hand, words are nothing other than things that allow us to communicate with one another in the easiest way possible, if by using a word we explain ourselves better, be it gramatically correct or not or existant even, then it's probably a good thing; and if many people use the word (with, exponentially, more people receiving and using said word) and you can universally express something with less effort, then that's the use of language in itself, right there.

On the other hand, this reeks of catering to the masses, having a dictionary being sold with words the common man can digest and understand, that he/she can relate because he uses them on a regular basis. "New Improve DICTIONARY!!! Now, with 'Meh' and many other of your favorite words!!! Only $19.99". I'm not saying this is something of grave offense or anything, but not because something is popular means it's something good.

I think words, mostly, are irrelevant to communication; as long as the message is clear, words, grammar and all that can take a back seat. But ignorance is bad and can be very dangerous, and giving license to be ignorant to people is just not right. As i said, communication should be clear.

I use 'meh' a lot, but i think the power of the word (a very strong power, might i add) has been losing itself; i'm not sure if it's good or bad, that remains to be seen (although, if less people have the power of using words, then it's possible that the few who still know the art and use of it might use them to their own advantages and get better results). All i know is that the addition of words to the dictionary is nothing to get excited about anymore; or, simply put, M-E-H.

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