Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Word Diminishing

Words tend to diminish with overuse. This is obvious. The broader and more frequent its use in society, the quicker it falls out of its original meaning. This is one of the many reasons we need to diversify our linguistic capabilities.

On a small scale, take the word “like;” we use it colloquially as a sort of filler word, worsening in intensity as you move down through the younger generations. We do it so often now it’s hardly noticeable, and the word “like” essentially means nothing. There are many problems with this trend, largely untreatable, but the one I’m going to focus on in this post is the degradation of the word’s significance.

The one example that immediately comes to my mind is the word “epic.” Epic used to be a legitimately powerful word, held back to only describe the largest and most impressive events or situations. But through continued abuse in everyday speech and internet memes, the word “epic” is now only a shadow of what it once was. Use the word “epic,” and most people will only equate it with some kind of loose positivity.

As with the word “awesome,” and I’m very guilty of abusing this. People use the word “awesome” to designate anything that’s remotely pleasing. “Awesome” should be reserved for things that are truly capable of inciting awe. But it gets thrown around like “like,” to the point where its power is lost.

That’s why I think sometimes it would be nice to have word thresholds, in order to preserve the natural power of a word’s original meaning. People would be limited in the number of times they could use a certain word in a certain day. It might create some conflicts with Freedom of Speech, but damn it, our language would be far more significant.

14 comments:

  1. I'm guilty of overusing awesome, but when I started overuse it was already too late for the rest of society. I refuse to use the word Epic unless it actually fits the situation.

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  2. I couldn't agree more! I find myself taking score of how many times someone uses the word "like" in their presentation in class. I am completely distracted from anything else that comes out of their mouths because of the EPIC use of the word "like." Hah, now hear me out before scorning me! I use "epic" because a girl almost used the word "like" 100 times in a 5 min presentation. Blew my mind.

    It's a damn shame that grammar and proper word use are going out the door. I blame the word "awesome" being abused on the Ninja Turtles movie! I CAN'T HELP BUT USE IT ALL THE TIME THANKS TO THEM! THEY MADE IT COOL!

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  3. Very true. The english language is complex enough as it is, many words have double meanings.

    U Laugh U Lose
    http://ulaughulose.blogspot.com/

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  4. i use awesome and epic alot and i know its a horrible habit so ill plan to be more diverse in my vocabulary or at least try

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  5. Can we say death of language soon?

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  6. I don't know many english words to show how much I "like" something. I will use numbers instead.
    Five star post, bro.

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  7. pretty soon we'll only be communicating through acronyms lol

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  8. I'm so guilty of using like. I've been trying to catch myself but it always slips out.

    R.I.P language, you were once valued.

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  9. I use awesome ALL THE FRIGGING TIME! It annoys the crap out of me but I'm only really conscious of it 10 seconds after I've said it. The English language is such a rich one yet I'm downgraded to the level of moron-ity just because of the MTV generation I live in.

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  10. haha this really is a matter of self-control.
    just don't talk like an idiot, then you won't think like an idiot. it's not that hard :)

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  11. This article has really enlightened me. Thanks for your writing that really showed me what I'm missing in life. I am now complete.

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  12. I once counted the number of times a girl in my class said "like" during her 5-minute presentation. 54 times.

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  13. Epic is about used for everything now. Ugh I'm guilty of this as well.

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  14. This is an interesting topic. I too am guilty of overusing "epic" and "awesome" (I'm a bit hammy in my descriptions of things), but I feel in the right context they can still be as powerful as they;ve been in the past.

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