Tuesday, December 19, 2017

War on Words

It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.

― George Orwell, 1984

Two decades ago, two child development specialists tracked the weekly growth in the vocabularies of 42 children over 30 months. They discovered a child's socioeconomic status determined her vocabulary's breadth―and her test-scores later in school.

So not only does family of origin determine academic success; words do, too.

So why destroy them?

After a public outcry this week, the head of the CDC denied that President Trump banned the use of seven words by her agency: diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender, and vulnerable.

But, as it turns out, new style guidelines imposed by Trump do ban the seven words―and that CDC is by no means the only agency under the thumb of the president's word-police.

“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings,” the German poet Heinrich Heine said. 
And where they have destroyed words?

But fear not: resistance is facile.

Invent a word every day. 

If you need inspiration, follow Fritinancy, a blog dedicated to new-word formation.

Be like Shakespeare or Dickens or Orwell (who once wrote, "What is wanted is several thousands of gifted but normal people who would give themselves to word-invention as seriously as people now give themselves to Shakespearean research"):
  • Shakespeare invented the words articulate, barefaced, baseless and watchdog.
  • Dickens invented the words coffee-imbibingmessiness, sawbones, and seediness.
  • Orwell invented the words newspeak, prole, thought-police, and unperson.
My new word for the day?

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