I’d like to consider myself somewhat in the know about what the kids are up to these days, mostly because I wouldn’t consider myself a grown-up as of now despite being 22 years old.
I spend a good amount of time on Vine and I pick up on many of these new trends– like phrases, music choices or other random things that become viral– and Twitter is another platform that opened my eyes to what’s happening in the world. Yes, these platforms keep me updated on the news and current events but they also help me pick up on new trends.
These trends may range from new fashion-forward items, new apps like Snapchat or Vine, or even words.
I think it’s inevitable that our vocabularies will evolve with our populations, and dictionaries have added words to their pages to reflect the changes. For instance, do you think “bootylicious” would be an actual word in the dictionary if it weren’t for the ladies of Destiny’s Child? I think not.
For instance, I learned about “on fleek” by watching a Vine. According to Urban Dictionary, this phrase means “the quality of being perfect, or on point.” If you don’t know what on point means either, it basically means perfect. The phrase “on fleek” (which keeps getting autocorrected to fleck on my computer, but no computer, that’s not what I’m referring to) is not in any dictionaries as of yet, but it’s being used in our vocabularies as if it is.
The New York Time’s Upshot featured a quiz testing users on their knowledge of new words that have emerged: follow this link and you can take the quiz yourself.
In a long-winded manner, I’ve brought myself to the point of all of this. Our world is constantly evolving and that includes our words, it’s only appropriate that the books that catalog our words follow suit and document the words. It’s a small step in the right direction that the words are being recognized as real, but it’s another step when they are used by mainstream society.
Before you roll your eyes at me, I don’t mean that I think “on fleek” or “bruh” (which I would argue has only one u) should be used by the media or in a professional context, but they should be recognized. Whatever couldn’t have been an “original” word in the dictionary, but many people understand its meaning today. The same can be be said for LOL which is understood as laughing out loud.
What words will no longer be used in 20 years and what words will stick around to be taken seriously? To be continued…