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dear (un)friend

November 18, 2009

after much time and consideration, i have decided to “unfriend” you. as i type this an odd red squiggle appears under the word “unfriend”. apparently my computer can’t recognize the gravity of the situation. it doesn’t realize that this means it is time we part ways. my computer, despite being the host of our friendship – the entity responsible for strengthening our bonds – does not grasp the concept of severing them.

maybe i just need to update my software. after all, it was only yesterday that the oxford english dictionary added you as its word of the year. which makes me cringe.

i was all atwitter when the word blog was added to the dictionary in 2004. a blog, being a contraction of two nouns, remained a noun. but now grammar rules are being thwarted to make way for publicity.

i’ll give the old dudes at webster and oxford credit for gaming the system – they get that if they introduce one of the 2.0 buzz words into their roladex of writing then the yuppies at techcrunch, mashable and the like will get all excited and blog away.

and so they get their 15 minutes of digital fame. but the tradeoff is that they bastardize the very thing they set out to preserve: language.

yes, i’ve told people “to google” useless information, i’ve “sexted” my way through dull days, i’ve even told friends “to ping” me when they’re on their way to pick me up.

but in those moments, i knew each time that i was using slang. never did i expect that nouns would actually be sanctified as verbs. by the oed, no less. what’s next? will the ap issue a style guide replacing commas with backslashes? will the dewey decimal system classify books by google rankings? will hypertext markup language replace the english language just for a couple mentions on a popular blog?

whatever happens next, my dictum for the day is that i’m defriending the dictionary to save my diction.

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