Today English language changes are picked up faster due to international chat rooms, message texting, computer availability, iPads, e-books and more leisure time for writing and reading. Chat rooms are big contributors because people from many nations are using one room where English is the common language but the odd foreign word inevitably slides in. Many words are assimilated much to the displeasure of the French who want to keep their language pure. Words like ballet, croissant, glastnost, ramen, safari, tycoon, Zen, futon, blitz, ennui, bikini, incommunicado, angst, armoire, and gestalt are among the thousands of words whose origin is other than English.
The English language structure makes it easy for changes to develop. The Germanic, Chinese and Arabic languages have strict structures that allow little change with the exception of technical words and phrases. These languages have many words which when used as a noun mean one thing but as a verb are different. English has few of these inflections.
One trend in English, verbification, is of great controversy more so now than ten years ago. Sentences like, "I officed him on the second floor," " He podiumed at the Olympics," "Charlie tasked me to garbage this project," "My ask is that you make this change on line two," and "Hollywood farewelled Michael Jackson" are coming under fire. One derogatory or alternately feared term depending upon your stance is "handbagged." It is a reference to the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. She entered a room, set her Verragamo handbag on the cabinet and one person remarked, "The handbag is here. Let's start the meeting." It now means a tough female negotiator or business woman.
Verbification has been used for centuries. Shakespeare in Richard II, has the Duke of York saying, "Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle." Verbs like armed, painted, questioned, shouldered, faced, emailed, trained, stated, sanded, objected, cooked and kissed all started out as nouns. Now they are common verbs accepted by even those who hold English to the highest standards.
Users of the terms and phrases such as journaling, trending, bookmarking, texting, friending or defriending, golfers paring a hole, or race care drivers pitting, lawyering up/out, tasking, or heirlooming a possession have experienced a lack of acceptance in the business and writing world. People who use them are considered, especially if you are a writer, to be lazy, ignorant or pretentious. Ben Franklin agreed saying verification was "abominable and awkward." Some grammar sites condone using nouns as verbs as a sign of a vibrant linguistic culture while other decry their use. Possibly some of the vogue terms will become so accepted where no thought will be given to them being anything other than verbs. Others may go the wayside just like, "I took a meeting."
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