Clips, Culture, Internet

Spread The Good Word

Zouch, June 4, 2012.

I’m standing on a stadium ground, with a duffel bag filled with imagination. The night is a rich, velvety black.

From somewhere up in the bleachers, comes a murmur, “Yes, yes, me!” Behind me, a squeaky voice, not unlike that of SpongeBob SquarePants, calls, “Over here.” “Hello,” coos another one, from what sounds like an undersea tunnel.

I blink and the scene vaporizes coldly.

I’m only sitting at my desk, looking at my computer screen. The monitor is displaying a Web site that has the look of an odd sort of an art gallery. I roll my mouse over it. And then, the source of the sounds is revealed.

It’s “words” that are clamoring for my attention. Like kids, left in a cruel orphanage, they beg to be taken home.

A screengrab of “Save the Words.”

“Save the Words” is an interactive platform created by Oxford University Press, which aims to bring out-of-usage words back into circulation. It features a broad selection of lexical artifacts that very few of us are aware of, let alone use them.

According to the Global Language Monitor, a Texas-based organization that tracks neologisms, the number of words in the English lexicon, as on January 1, 2012, stood at 1,013,913.

Every 98 minutes, the world’s most supple language is absorbing a new word from either a non-English culture or a different sphere of human activity. One fresh coinage unsentimentally displaces another from our culture that which is regarded as archaic, arcane, or anachronistic.

“Save the Words” seems to remind us that pre-Internet-era vocabulary can well co-exist with the set that came after it.

One can pledge to adopt a word, promise to use it in conversation or correspondence. A true logophile may even want to buy a T-shirt with her or his adopted word printed across it and help spread the good old word.

See eyes pop out by describing the money-loving Mr. Eugene Krabs as a philargyrist. Stump anyone by calling a fruit seller, an oporopolist.


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