Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Great Thoughts about Words

It is sad that so few people use the word "breakfast" as a verb in the past tense.

Example: I breakfasted with my great aunt this morning.

The words 'Google' and Facebook - once nonexistent - are now verbs as well as nouns.  Yet, using breakfast as a verb seems to be a lost art.


We manipulate language to suit our needs, right?  So, if a word no longer serves its purpose - and is therefore no longer used - does it cease to be real? Does it it simply die?

I can imagine a museum of dead words.  Lined up in glass display cases, individually lit, each word is accompanied by a visual representation and a definition.  Surrounding each word there are photographs of the people who used the word and above it (pride of place) there is a photograph of the person who created it.  Of course, many words are so old and have been used for so long that their true creators are not really known to history.   There is a large diagram in the foyer of this word museum that shows how the dead words are related.  A word family tree as big as the wall is mounted and framed with 24 carat gold letters.  Where even the words that have died are reverred and honored.  Children learn about them in school and take field trips to the hallowed halls of the language history museum.  I can see it.

It will never happen of course.  We don't think that way.  When old words die they are replaced with different words - newer words derived from the old- with different meanings.  Each word has a life of their own and works with other words to serve a purpose.  They provide letters and meaning to create new words.  Then they die.  How is that for an interesting metaphor of humanity? Or is it?

Thank you for coming on a ramble with me today.  I hope it made you think.  What words have you stopped using?  What words do you wish were more widely used?  What words do you wish would die?

I love Wednesdays!