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11 Apr Flat whites and muffin tops

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In March, the Oxford English Dictionary released the list of new entries to be included in its venerable pages. In addition to flat white, which refers to a latte-like coffee, and muffin top, which has nothing to do with baking, included are the initialisms OMG, LOL, IMHO and BFF.

Of course, grammarians are up in arms about the degradation of the English language, and declining literacy of today’s youth etc, etc, etc.

Leaving that argument aside, what I find most interesting is the extent to which recent entries have been influenced by le web. Although last year’s list included only one directly web-related term (defriend), cyberslacker, ego-surfing and meatspace all made the cut in 2009.

As the web (and by extension digital communications) becomes more pervasive in our daily lives, so too does its vocabulary. Is it, therefore, worthwhile to lament the demise of polysyllabic communication? IMHO, no. Language  is a living thing, and it will evolve as it is wont to do, whether we like it or not.

(And look, I used an initialism and wont in the same paragraph. There’s room for everyone at this party, right?)

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