Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Please Welcome More Terrible Tech Terms to the Oxford Dictionary

oxford_english_dictionaryIt’s official: The English language has jumped the shark.

The Oxford Dictionary Online, a venerable institution published by Oxford University Press and the self-proclaimed “definitive record of the English language,” admitted a new official set of words into the lexicon this week, many of which were driven by our increasingly tech-enhanced social norms.

And, trust me, they are silly to the point of being terrible.

Some new additions, like phablet, are portmanteaus — essentially two words Frankenstein-ed together to form one term. It’s a verbal construction quite true to the noun it signifies, a massive mish-mash of smartphone and tablet. At first a laughable way to describe Samsung’s Galaxy Note, phablet now sees common use in the tech industry.

Other words, like squee, selfie or srsly, stem from a history of mobile-text speak. Squee comes from onomatopoeic origins; one would text a squee of delight at the sight of a cute animal picture they received. Or perhaps they’d send a picture of themselves — a selfie, natch — as a return gift. Srsly is self-explanatory (and so unnecessary it makes me want to vom).

To be clear, not every new addition is ridiculous. Considering the explosion of sensors and networked appliances over the last decade, I wholeheartedly welcome the definition for the Internet of Things. MOOCs, too, have ballooned in popularity in recent years as an online learning option, all the more legitimized by some higher-ed institutions. It’s an appropriate add.

You might argue that I’m being a snob, that we’d be remiss to exclude such a widely used set of terms from the dictionary of record. And that’s an entirely fair argument; times change, and so must we.

And yet that argument does little for me when I see that twerking is now an official OED-recognized word.

Alas. Give the people what they want.


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