All I can say is… Holy Miley Cyrus. The entire week following the VMA’s should have just been dedicated to her and that ridiculous performance and all the meme’s that followed on our beloved social media sites. And if her parents weren’t proud of her after all that unnecessary crudeness, they must be now since she also contributed a new word to the dictionary in honor of a sinking generation. Twerk. Awesome. Let’s try it in a sentence, shall we? I wish that twerk wasn’t a word. Done.
Long gone are the days of taking old words and finding new meanings for them. God forbid anyone under the age of 22 learns a vocabulary word, how to spell it, and how to change it so that it takes on a new meaning that retains part of it’s old meaning… Like the word “Grinding,” which can be associated to a dance move that is very similar, if not the same, as twerking. One of my favorite words that was recycled to express a dance move is “swerve.” I used to confuse it with “swivel, ” but then realized that the swivel was my own personal dance style, and was not even closely related to the elegance of the swerve. But I digress.
Now, as you can tell, I love to write do my best to abide by the laws of grammar and punctuation (and gravity), but the additions and constant changes to the acceptable English Language Dictionary are out of control. Recent additions to the dictionary include: Selfie, Phablet, Squee, Srsly (seriously?), Buzzworthy (isn’t that 2 words?), and unlike (Check out the tragedy HERE). I’m pretty sure the hard core Scrabble gamers are very excited for the extra help, but I am feeling a little less complete these days (although am strangely okay with “unlike” as it seems like a natural progression in the scheme of life and I wonder why it was not added sooner).
Where do we draw the line? At BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Can we just have an acronym of internet language dictionary? I’d be okay with that. I’d be okay with a slang dictionary, too… or even one huge book of words with sections for sophisticated, slang, and acronym/internet languages.
A brief history in the English language tells me that the Oxford Dictionary has had “the last word on words” for over 100 years, so they must know exactly what they are doing, right? Wait, what ARE they doing? I do not love you right now!
Granted, I understand the importance of reflecting word usage of the time, but the new changes and additions do not reflect a major demographic of the English Speaking world as it stands today. I would like to think that the digital world we live in does some sort of history keeping for the age, as quickly as it passes in the digital time zone that lives in and beyond the universe.
I am not against the addition of words that are in common use. BUT words that are just two words placed together or are words that already exist but are missing a vowel… these are not words! They are words that are misspelled. I cannot agree with the addition of these aborted words to the official book of words. An extra space is not going to kill you, friends! Even on twitter, people know what you mean if you need to leave a vowel or a space out. They don’t need a dictionary definition to make sure you are saying what they think you might be saying.
Perhaps this is where the line is drawn between New English and New Old English? Maybe. I came across the UrbanDictionary.com definition of “twerk”, which defines it as being “The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience” (You can check that out HERE). Can someone tell me why the definition of the word is way more sophisticated than the word itself? And why has my spellcheck not been updated yet? Oh, because twerk is a made up word. It’s pure Jabberwocky (a word which does meet my spell check standards, by the way).
Another recent change to the English Language is the word “literally,” which no longer leans literally, but has transformed into “figuratively.” Is this George Orwell’s 1984, where Love is Hate and War is Peace? Has a word that has been overly exaggerated for so long now become the exact opposite of it’s meaning? And how long will it take to regain its literal meaning (read more HERE)?
My brain hurts.
In Shakespeare’s day, he invented well over 1500 words, which include glorious gems such as, lonely, obscene, addiction, bedazzled (what!?), fashionable, radiance, and drugged (the list continues HERE if you’re interested is anything that is sacred).
Now, did he really invent these words, or were they obscurely used during his day? Did the local harlot coin the word “arouse” during a sexy performance to bend men to her will? I don’t know, but I am confident that “twerking” is not a piece of poetry (and certainly not one that is in motion). Now, this last statement is not meant to discount Miley as a poet. I mean, “Wrecking Ball” really does touch the inside of my soul. Literally.
Miley Cyrus is certainly no Shakespeare, and I hate to reference her, Shakespeare, and George Orwell in the same essay. I am ashamed and I apologize to my more serious readers (do you even exist anymore? Oh, there you are… the only one’s still here!).
Question: Did Miley Cyrus even invent “twerking”? Because I’m pretty sure that there was a lot of that going on when I was in middle school, except us kids did it at the Community Center Dances, or in basements at house parties… not on National TV in front of babies and moms and people who (well, maybe used to) respect us. And I’m positive that my dad would have beaten the shit out of me if he ever saw me doing that at all, especially while wearing flesh colored plastic booty shorts grinding on a full grown son of the Dad from Growing Pains.
Somehow, she gave a new name to “grinding” and wrote a song about it, making it a raunchier display of rebellion than I remember. Somehow giving “twerk” an official meaning in the English Language seems like a reward for bad behavior. Just sayin’ (hey, we should add that term to the dictionary).
Seriously, what is happening to the English language? Are we becoming so intelligent that we need to add more words to our language because of all the hard and thoughtful thinking taking place? Or are we adding more words to the language because it needs to be dumbed down enough to help this lost generation? A generation that is too busy to open “them readin’ books” because they are devouring video games, streaming movies, and tweeting on their iPhones.
So dear English speakers and readers, I submit to you my word for review in next years Dictonary Edition: