No sooner does the word “selfie” earn itself title of the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, than someone digs up what is thought to be the world’s first such photograph, a picture Robert Cornelius, a US chemist, took of himself in 1839.
I get the feeling though this claim may be challenged, but let’s see what happens.
For those with an interest in such things, listings of the most distinct, and commonly used adjectives, adverbs, and sentences used in the fantasy/adventure “Hunger Games”, “Harry Potter”, and “Twilight”, series of novels.
Who knows, studies of historical transcripts may yet reveal the use of “selfie” dating back centuries. It’s happened before. A word falls from use and then reappears many decades later. “Sleeping beauty” is one term used to describe such situations.
The other week I watched The Notebook, a movie set, at times, during the 1940s, and it seemed men of the period used the term “Mac” to address other males they didn’t know.
In the same way people today might say “mate”, “bud”, or maybe “boss”. So what’s the deal there anyway? Using a word that has one meaning, in an entirely different context? Who knows, but that such words slide off the tongue easily might have something to do with it.
Dude has a comparable quality. Just think of the last time you did something awesome in the presence of a friend who affirmed your awesomeness with the exclamation Duuude! Or the last time you said something objectionable to someone who began setting you straight with a firm and sober Dude. There may not be any obvious difference in denotation between these cases, but the difference in connotation is, you’ll appreciate from experience, pretty major.
November 435 Sierra Romeo is cleared to Bravo Tango Victor airport, via: On entering controlled airspace, expect radar vectors to Westminster VOR. Then Victor 457 to Lancaster VOR, Victor 39 to East Texas VOR Echo-Tango-Xray, Victor 162 to Huguenot VOR Hotel-Uniform-Oscar, then as filed. Climb and maintain three thousand feet, expect five thousand feet ten minutes after departure. Departure frequency 128.7, squawk four-six-three-five.
Yep, that sounds a lot like the way I used to speak during my academy, or buzzing over the country side in a Cessna, days.
Learning how to tear a telephone directory, if you can find one, in half, is certainly a great party trick, or handy if you need to light a fire perhaps. It takes a few minutes to learn, and it’s a skill you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life.
Why stop at knowing how to rip up the phone book though? You can also learn how to speed read, change a tire, crack an egg single-handedly, and learn how to read Korean (most interesting), in ten to fifteen minutes, if you wish.
According to Alexis Madrigal, writing for The Alantic, the chances are about even, after he checked up on how “words”, including lol and dot-com, that were added to dictionaries during the 1990s, are travelling today.
Surprise, surprise, the word “twerk” has recently, along with a stack of other “buzzworthy” neologisms, been added to the Oxford online dictionary… no need, I’m sure, to go into what the word means, or why its inclusion at this juncture merits a mention.
You probably know the most common uses of hyphens, the stubby, multipurpose half-dashes. They push apart and tie together suffixes, prefixes, words, and phrases. The often-derided mark, hated for its careless and prevalent misuse, has quite a few proper uses, hyphenation for one.
Regular readers have probably noticed I pretty much use a minus sign or a hyphen to do the work of all four punctuation marks… while I appreciate the En or Em dashes have a function and purpose, I’m really not a fan of the space they chew up to do so.
So there. Still, it’s good to know the rules before you go breaking them.