language change and slang

Mind the gap!

Sometimes, I find, after a particularly busy week with lots of words in it, that by the time Friday comes round, I just feel like making up my own words – to hell with all the ones already made! Turns out I am not alone. The What’s your English? Facebook page went literal for a day and ‘we’ (you know who you are) filled a lot of the gaps in the English language … somebody had to do it.

For example: if you’re casting about for a new hobby and you think you’ll give knitting a try, and you go along to a group (don’t know about where you are but it’s very hot right now in the UK, knitting is, crafts, all that kind of thing) or you buy a few balls of wool and some needles and you give it a go, just once … and then you give up.  I mean, what does this sort of approach to knitting make you? Have you knit and run? Are you a one-knit wonder? Have you had a one-knit stand? These are deep and important thoughts and pertinent questions.

There are other chasms in the language as a result of huge advances in social networking in the digital sense – sure, defriend fills a new gap, but what about a word for when you are online and someone comes online who you want to avoid and for a moment of panic you hover over the ‘go offline’ button (surely ‘button’ needs updating, come to think of it) and you think: ‘Will they see that I was online and went offline as soon as they came online?’ What about a word for being invisible online while still able to see who else is online so that when the person you are avoiding has ‘gone offline’ you can uncloak (?!) and ta-da you are available now to the people you choose.

I should point out, I can’t claim any of the above breakthroughs in the English language as my own; I stand on the shoulders of giants.

Anyway, the point is– by the time Friday comes round, I reckon it’s quite acceptable to sit back and ponder the bigger questions such as the ones I have outlined above. And, as I have said, it seems quite a few people feel the same. Here are some highlights from our Facebook Friday Challenge:

@Karen: to unline – to go offline or hide your online status when you see someone come online who you want to avoid.
@Christiane: It is not a serious suggestion but during last night’s dinner we came up with this one: moo-lash = goulash made of beef.
@Francesca:  stairtango – that weird dance you do when you feel yourself falling on the stairs.
@Charlotte: one-knit-wonder – someone who tries knitting once and then gives up.
@Cinzia: ‎@ Charlotte, what about one-knit-stand? 🙂
@Anna: I’ve got one, though it isn’t mine … When you hear a nice song – eargasm.

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author


Laine Redpath Cole


Leave a Comment