SoCS – The Evolution of Language

I suppose it isn’t a surprise that I like language, or maybe more specifically, I love words. I find words to be fascinating, especially the significance and importance we place on them. Isn’t it strange to think that we give a word meaning? I sometimes wonder why a tree is called that. What if it was called something else instead? It would still be the same thing, just called something different.

I don’t think I realized how odd it really was until my boyfriend started to translate some of the most famous sayings they have in Farsi. When you translate it word for word in English, it takes on a meaning all it’s own and some of them can be, well, not what I would want to translate on my blog. I’ve also learned some things by doing the #frapalymo poetry challenge that Bee Halton is translating from German on her blog. There was one challenge she just couldn’t translate because there was no translation into English. The other day, we had a “hunters language” challenge, but again, there was no direct translation into English.

Some of what we are doing with the English language right now as a direct result of “texting” drives me nuts. Things like changing “you” to “u” and not knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re” can make me see red. Because I don’t think that has anything to do with “wordsmithery”; I think it’s just laziness. I find it hard to read texts, Facebook posts or Tweets that don’t spell things out. I believe the challenge in only having 160 characters is choosing the words you need, or finding words, in order to get your meaning across; not shortening words so you can say what you want to say without putting the actual work into it.

There are a few things, though, that I find interesting. Take the word “KEK” which can be found in the Urban Dictionary. If any of my readers have played World of Warcraft, you will know what it means. But for those that don’t, I will explain. Or you can go here, which I Googled this morning as a refresher because I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant, I just remembered the word from my years of playing the game.

There are two different factions you can choose to play in World of Warcraft, the Horde or the Alliance. In-game, the two different alliances are unable to speak to each other. Anything the Horde types will come across chat as gibberish to the Alliance. When the Horde types in LOL, it comes across as KEK to the alliance. It started to catch on, though, with all players and I knew some Alliance players who started to use it in text and conversation in place of LOL.

Now, this I find interesting; how language can evolve into new and different things simply by using it; how the English we speak in the United States has evolved differently than the English used in Europe; and finally, how language can either bring us together or put a huge barrier between us. In the case of World of Warcraft, the Alliance players starting using KEK, maybe not as a way to communicate with the Horde, because, ew, why would you want to do that, but as a way of integrating something new into their own language. But if the Alliance and the Horde didn’t hate each other quite so much, it could have been used to bring them together.

I feel like I could do a whole new post about how language can either bring us together or drive a bigger wedge between us. You’ve gotta love SoCS and how it just flows from one thing to the next. But it’s Saturday and I have places to be, KEK.

What about you? What are your thoughts on language?


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill. Today’s prompt was open-ended with the letters “ke”. Feel free to click the link and join in!

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6 thoughts on “SoCS – The Evolution of Language

  1. I am a linguist by profession and calling. I always had an unexplained knack for language. I speak (read and write) five languages and decently understand a couple more. I started learning a new language when I was in 5th grade and have never stopped. I love language and just like you, Helen, I get very upset with the murder of good language (be it in English, Portuguese or any other language). But I do understand that language evolves and some things are just bound to change one way or another.
    I am a proud member of the Grammar Police (KEK) and I actually have a few friends that count on me to check their spelling. Seeing a misspelled word is like an itch that I can’t but scratch… recently I was on stage in my school getting it ready for my students’ yearly performance and I happened to glance at the white board that is set up there for the strings teacher (who, poor thing, has no choice but to hold his classes there because of the lack of space in the building) and I spied the name of a French folk song totally misspelled. I tried to control myself but after a few minutes of fighting it, I had to grab the eraser and correct it:)
    Fun fact: I was the only person I know that actually enjoyed taking linguistics in college (a mandatory class for future ESL teachers)… does that make me weird?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Five languages! Holy cow! My boyfriend speaks three and he tells me there isn’t enough room in his brain for more information. LOL. I always tell him no one truly understands what the brain is capable of.

      I don’t think you’re weird at all. We all have our strengths and the things that make our brains happy. 🙂

      Like

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