Words, Snobs, and Thought Jumps

Don (my husband) sent me a link to a video on TED, “a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading”. Basically it is a conference that has guest speakers from the areas of technology, entertainment, and design. This particular vid was about words, dictionary, ect. Erin McKean, a lexicographer (compiler of words) and CEO of the online dictionary, Wordnik (www.wordnik.com), talks about “redefining the dictionary”. She is very entertaining so do not fret about falling asleep, imo.

The subject I’m about to broach is indirectly related to the vid but it is the vid that took me there. Mostly because Ms. McKean’s approach is so considerate, funny, and accessible to anyone who enjoys words. Frankly, she isn’t a “word snob”. You know, the kind of people that feel it is necessary to correct/criticize your pronunciation or use of a word. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate this ability in most people, keeps me honest in my many roles in life where words matter. It is the people who are mean or cruel about it. The kind of individuals that people who have English as a second language should never encounter. I suppose these individuals are probably few and very young or have a predisposition to predjudice but they exist.

Eh, when I think about it, everyone has a certain level of word-snobishness. Myself-when Erin McKean talks about adding new definitions to words (to infinity) causes me anxiety. I think it is because I fear words will gain so many definitions that they will cease to exist as a defined unit with which to communicate efficiently with. Craziness!

Thought Jumps: Leads to the thought that humans created words. Will we evolve to the point where the only way we will be able to tell what a word means is within the context of environment and connotation? Leading to: I’ve heard, among many other theories that tickle my imagination as a writer, that humanity will evolve to become just pure energy and we will use telepathy to communicate or really empathy if we continue with the idea that language will go beyond words (of course it already does, but words still exist).

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