Tag Archives: Twitter

And the International Oxford Dictionaries Word of 2013 Is……..

Selfie!  Here’s the news flash from the website Mashable:

“Oxford Dictionaries announced “Selfie” as the international Word of the Year 2013, noting its frequency in the English language has increased by 17,000% since last year.

“According to Oxford Dictionaries, the word “selfie” first appeared in 2002, when it was used in an Australian online forum. It was popularized by social media during the years (it was used as a hashtag on Flickr in 2004), but it became widely adopted around 2012, when it started commonly being used in mainstream media.”

So get out your smartphone, make those duck lips, take your picture and upload it to your favorite social media sites.

(What is wrong with me? Why am I promoting this?)

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Rihanna’s Grammar

English: Rihanna at the 2009 American Music Aw...

English: Rihanna at the 2009 American Music Award Red Carpet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s New York Times Magazine had a blurb about a school in São Paulo, Brazil that has a novel way of teaching English. Here’s the article in its entirety:

TWITTER AS A SECOND LANGUAGE, by Hope Reeves

“Hi, @rihanna. I love your songs. My name is Carolina. I’m 11 years old,” began the tweet, which went on to correct Rihanna’s grammar. “It’s not to she, it’s to her,” Carolina wrote. Her tweet was part of an initiative at the Red Balloon School in São Paulo to teach English by correcting celebrities’ sloppy Twitterish. “So far no celeb has replied,” the school has said. “Hopefully they’re busy learning English.”

I could be a pedant and point out that the person who wrote that message for the school used “Hopefully” incorrectly. As written, it means that the celebrities are hopeful when, in fact, it is the school’s participants in this program who hope they will get a reply. But I have given up on this use of “hopefully”; common usage has emerged victorious.

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Same Word, Evolved Additional Meaning

It’s not that uncommon to hear language mavens complain that others are using words incorrectly.  If you say a movie is “terrific” or “awesome,” they will ask you if you really thought the movie caused terror or awe. Both meanings of those two words are accurate today, only because language changes according to common usage.  It wasn’t that long ago that “twitter”  and “tweet” were sounds made only by birds.

I do think both “terrific” and “awesome” are annoyingly overused, however. It’s a good idea to look for fresh ways to express clichés.

In my next few posts I’ll come up with some more words that have come to be used differently than originally intended.

 


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