Cultural change is commonly accompanied by an evolution of our language. It should come as no surprise then that in this tech-heavy environment, new words are sprouting like mushrooms. Even if sometimes we don't realise it. These new words add meaning and help us describe the relationship we have with the technology in our ever-so-sophisticated digital world.
A quick look at new words recently added to the Oxford Dictionaries confirms that technology and the internet remains the number one catalyst for emerging words:
- What really intrigues me is that a lot of these terms describe the way we communicate over the internet, for example refollow , tweetable, chatbot, video chat , and bloggy to name a few
- Specific words have also become more common due to the importance and increased awareness of online security - cyberespionage, hackable, ethical hacker, cybersecurity
- Some are a result of inventions in technology - phablet, bitcoin, 3D printing, iOS, 4G, geodata
Funnily enough, these technological inventions cause certain behaviours that further spawned new words. For example:
- As defined in the Oxford Dictionaries, a digital detox is “A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world”
- My other favourite is describing someone as a Glasshole as a result of using Google Glass in a socially unacceptable manner
Some new additions that I find particularly exciting:
- When David Cameron announced doubling research funding for the internet of things at the CeBIT technology trade fair in Germany, I wondered if this word might finally go mainstream. Will it soon be officially part of our lives?
- The acronym UX (user experience) that we use so much in this industry has also been recognised (by the Oxford Dictionaries) – which I hope will make UX easier to explain to those not familiar with the term
It is very exciting to be witnessing the creation of these new words that are contributing directly to our lexicon. I wonder what kind of words people will need in a few hundred years from now. For now, we can only theorise by exploring and understanding how technology is evolving and dominating our lives. On a side note, if you’re a Scrabble fan, you might be interested to know that selfie or hashtag may (or may not) win the vote to be a new official word in Scrabble.