I'm an English as a Second Language immigrant. When I was young, I read the dictionary instead of novels. This made me appreciate the quirks and nuances of syntax. I geek-out on grammar and its music. Yet, I still can't spell and the silent "gh" is an enigma I will never understand.
In the past decade, I began noticing the bastardization of language. Its rapid decline is the linguistic equivocal of global warming. Texting and corporate lingo have devalued words and their meanings. And, a vogue word easily sticks to individual vocabularies like gum on a shoe.
So, here are the top 5 that need to go away in 2016:
1. Ideation—suddenly everything is an-ation: visualization, conceptualization. The suffix -ation means the simple act of doing something. An idea, a concept, a visual are nouns. They are the products of creation, which is a verb. These nomenclatures were invented to label the corporate activity where employees sit in a windowless room, trying to think of something smart. In reality, the creative process is not a cult or a group activity. It's a painful, solitary process that is extremely individualistic. For example, I get my best ideas scrubbing the tub. A friend of mine gets them while watching soap operas. And, adding a suffix doesn't give a bad idea/visual/concept validity.
2. Amazing (and any derivatives of that word such as amazeballs, etc)—in all languages there are so many beautiful adjectives to describe magical or surprising. The overuse of this word robs the impact of something truly amazing, like finding water on Mars. Your bagel is not amazing. It's delicious.
3. Like—is the Swiss Army Knife of words. It's a conjunction, a noun, an adverb and an adjective. Yet, it's conjunctive overuse is a silly-string, rendering the context unintelligible.
A while ago, a woman I mentored came to me for advice. She was smart, well read, well travelled, and well educated, but no one took her seriously, "Like, Anna, like I really try, like really, and like I've like been passed for like a promotion like foreva', and like I don't like know what to like do." I flagged her overuse of the word and suggested she take a speech class. She did. She's getting a doctorate in language studies.
4. Whatever/Whatevs—As a colloquial term, it's the ellipses of conversation. It's a monologue without a point. It's also used by passive-aggressives—along with an eye-roll—to show their displeasure and disagreement. State your point of view, have an opinion, finish your sentence!
5. LMK, BRB, YOLO, etc—Any and all abbreviations when used in formal communications such as an email, an advertisement, an article or actual human dialogue. These acronyms were created to speed-up texting when we used the number keyboard on flip phones. Now, we have smart phones with autofill and autocorrect. As your mama used to say when you were 2, "Use your words."
There are plenty of other offenders such as WOOT! What exactly is a "woot?" Its one speculated origin dates back to Dungeons and Dragons' truncated expression "Wow, loot!" It can also be dated back to the song, "Whoot There It Is." It can also be spelled with 2 zeroes when used by a successful hacker. That was in the 90s. Current usage of WOOT is the verbal "raising the roof" your drunk uncle does on the dance floor at weddings. There's a difference between retro and dusty.
Then, there's OMG—let's leave that one in a house of worship. Mind-blown and drop-the-mike need to die a slow death, and of course, there's the constant misuse of the word literally.
"When your mind is literally blown from reading this amazing article, I will scream OMG and drop the mike. Woot! Woot!"
Institutions such as Webster and Oxford are bowing down to colloquialisms. There's a difference between a trend and a word that belongs in our lexicon. I wish they would be more discriminating.
But, much like everything else, the responsibility of language belongs to the individual. This is the way we communicate with one another and the way we make our ideas, feelings and thoughts understood. Words have power, they can hurt or love. I like to paint with them. And, a rich vocabulary is the difference between a finger-painting and a masterpiece.