Every year new slangs and jargons come flying thick and fast, like cigarette smoke, only to vanish into thin air. However a few stay and become a part of our lexicon. The New York Times has come out with 30 odd new words which might disappear sooner than they appeared.
The new term, ‘sofalize’ (to socialize from home, through the net) sounds very practical. Wonderful isn’t it? Oil your hair to the limits, so what if the oil smells yucky, wear an oversize shirt, spill sauce on it and yet be able to socialize with friends. From the comforts of your snug warm quilt. In this biting cold and traffic mess, ‘sofalize’ sounds so much better than socialize.
Another new term which lands straight from the soccer field in our verbal exchange is ‘vuvuzela’. Doesn’t sound interesting though! Remember how ‘Chindia’ came and became a passing fancy. However, in the coming decade, ‘Chinglish’ might become viral like ‘Hinglish’.
Pretty much the same forces that create vogue in fashion, entertainment and media are responsible for making the slangs and terms a part of our daily vocabulary. Some words have a long history attached to them. I honestly was not aware that ‘gobbledygook’ (pretentious, high sounding language) was a word in the Oxford dictionary. In his column of May 26, 1965 James Reston of The New York Times used gobbledygook in his article. Also amazing is the fact that the word ‘mishmash’ has a long history of usage dating back to 1450.
Move over cattle class, cuddle class is here. The enviously dimpled Shashi Tharoor made popular the term cattle class. He must be happy with the new term cuddle class - with enviously coiffed Sunanda by his side. Air New Zealand has introduced Sky couch in their aircraft, seats which can unfold and become a couch for apparent reasons. Don’t get wicked ideas. It is in fact for long distance travelers who need to rest their backs.
The New York Times has come up with yet another new word ‘pout rage’. It has nothing to do with Shilpa’s collagen induced pout or Priyanka’s effortless natural one. It is not even about a sulking kid pouting. When kids pout, they are really upset about something. 'Pout rage' refers to false outrage. Like the one our politicians feel when inflation touches double digits. Like the one Sharad Pawar feels when the price of onions competes with that of gold. Cut that out… I doubt if Mr. Pawar feels anything. On a personal note, I love the term, ‘coffice’ (referring to coffee houses used for work). With Baristas and Café coffee day mushrooming in every nook and corner, the term should catch fancy.
Another new term that has provoked outrage, not pout rage, at airports and on blogs is ‘porno scanner’ a full body scanner using advanced imaging technology. Also a travel related new term is the ‘enhanced pat-down’ (frisking in which security workers slide the palms of their hands on a person’s body. Tsk..tsk..poor women with implants. The world might keep guessing but the airport staff becomes privy to their sillycone secret.
Most words are viable and are not merely passing fancies because they offer us a short cut in communication. Words come to us as we passively pick them up.
Sarah Palin, the Alaskan Governor might have lost the elections, but she coined the term ‘Mama grizzly’, referring to mothers who are protective of their young. Palin’s usage of the bear metaphor to describe herself was reported in a New York Times article, ‘Provoking Palin’s Inner Bear.’ I guess when it comes to children most mothers are Mama grizzly, leave alone Ms Palin.
Comical comments by former President Bush became ‘Bushisms ‘and Sarah’s words of wisdom (?) are ‘Palinspeak’.
If only Manmohan would speak…Alas!
Do let me know when you can figure that out while I sofalize.