Oxford English Dictionary Is Trying Impress Bieber Fans

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The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary will include the words "OMG," "LOL" and "FYI," as well as ♥, as in "I ♥ NYC." That last one's not even a word, right? In the future, let's keep the OED boring and respectable. If we need to make sense of our teenage cousin's texts, we'll consult Urban Dictionary.

DISCUSSION

ASmallTurnip
A Small Turnip

I feel as if I might be the only Jezebel reader who's delighted by these additions. I think it's wonderful that the OED is still an active participant in recording the evolutions of language as it is actually used, instead of primly handing down linguistic diktats à L'Académie française. The most charming and tenacious aspects of English are its messy unwillingness to behave itself, and its mischievous pick-pocketing of shiny words and phrases it fancies from other cultures and clans. And that, more than any other single lexicographic element, is what has made English the lithe, flexible, beautiful and infinitely adaptable beast it is today.

People who get themselves into a lather over alright vs. all right, boldly going vs. going boldly, and oh my God vs. OMG are simply perpetuating a kind of fetishistic snobbery fuelled by I-know-better-than-you smugness and a desperate, paranoid, sweaty-palmed insistence that if it's not in Strunk & White, it's not "real" English. Bollocks to that. It's not 1918 anymore. Languages are like sharks: they move, or they die. There's something deeply destructive in any attempt to cage them in. In the words of that brilliant brainbox Stephen Fry, "trying to legislate the usage of words is futile. Can't be done. It's anti-democratic, even. You simply can't eradicate words from existing or being used any more than you can eradicate thought."