Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Changing Language

I have been a writer for over fifty years, so yes, I am old. I know our English language is ever changing and I have watched words come and go throughout my lifetime.  Most changes in language start with teens and some stick around. Most don't. 

In the '40's, women were dames and their legs were gams.  If the dame wanted a person to leave her alone, she told him to scram. 

In the 50's, we were more subdued.  We went ape when we were angry.  A woman  became a baby.  And babies became ankle biters.  But we started being cool. We spelled it cool, not kewl, and did not clip off the word. It is one of the words that started being cool in the 60's and is still with us. 

Along came the 60's and again the teens started changing our language. The ever present, but now exploding counterculture brought wonderful new words with it. Most were an attempt by teens to have a language their parents did not understand. And they succeeded. 

Money became bread, women became chicks and men were cats.  We told a dude, who was a geek or pantywaist then, to bug off because we wanted to crash. And we were groovy flower children who were buzzed on pot.

Come the '70's, we started digging things and living in cribs.  We got in your face and spoke of the man. That has endured. You know was attached to the end of nearly every sentence. Sadly that has also endured. A cute girl became a bunny. And cool became chill. 

We said, "Good night, John-boy" as we kept on truckin'.  Awesome arrived as something that was totally cool and good became bad and now it is sick.  The language was changing and we were toking.

In the 80's, words and meanings that were coined in the 70's became part of everyone's vocabulary.  Awesome got even better. Bad did too. A cute guy became a boy toy.  Airheads did lunch and still do. Hacker became permanent as did homeboy. Rap became what it is and has stayed with us. We were accepting slang and different meanings as proper English.  We still schmooze, cocoon, pencil people in, veg out as couch potatoes. 

Some words have changed completely. We no longer have problems, we have issues.  No one has problems. That word has disappeared. Too bad it didn’t take our problems with it when it disappeared.  Used to be issues were newspapers and magazines. Now issues are problems - don't know what newspapers and magazines are except going out of print and into cyberspace.  

We have started using literally and virtually interchangeable. In fact, we use literally when we really mean virtually. Is virtually going to go the way of problems? 

The 90's brought us too much info, talk to the hand, and whassup. We also started verbing nouns.  It started with impact.  Time was impact was a fine noun.  If something made us think, it had an impact on us. If a car hit another car, car one made an impact on car two.  

Then something happened. The word impact was verbed.  In an accident, car two was impacted by car one. Impact, a perfectly good noun was turned into a not so good verb.  Impact seems to have impacted verb floodgates and we have not looked back. 

A trend became trending and remains with us today.  Systems are now erroring, management is greenlighting projects.  Verbing is becoming normal.  And someday, if you work for a company long enough, you will be gold-watched.


  1. Well things are different from back in the day but going forward we expect change. What happened to in the past or in the future?

  2. I know we have to expect change, but we don't have to like it :-) Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.


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