Locals support additions to dictionaryArea residents seem to support new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, including words that are commonly used in texting and other electronic language.
Area residents seem to support new additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, including words that are commonly used in texting and other electronic language.
Dr. Alan Church, chair of Dickinson State University’s Department of Language and Literature, is not surprised LOL, which stands for “laughing out loud,” and OMG, which stands for “oh my gosh/God/goodness,” were among the new
“Most linguists don’t view text speak to be something that’s going to have a lasting effect upon the language but there are probably going to be some examples like LOL where they become increasingly more popular,” Church said. “I’m not troubled when people use words like that because people are already using those words and the general principal that we need to recognize is that custom and usage determines what words are words, not people’s biases,”
Such “initialisms” as they are called on the OED website, are quicker to type and help people say more with a limited amount of characters.
“OMG and LOL are found outside of electronic contexts, however; in print, and even in spoken use … where there often seems to be a bit more than simple abbreviation going on,” the website states. “The intention is usually to signal an informal, gossipy mode of expression, and perhaps parody the level of unreflective enthusiasm or overstatement that can sometimes appear in online discourse, while at the same time marking oneself as an ‘insider’ au fait with the forms of expression associated with the latest technology.”
People often use other acronyms as words, Church added. He sites DVD, SUV and AWOL and HIV as examples of acronyms used as words in everyday language.
Church added “clipped” forms of words are also used frequently.
“They’re so common in our everyday speech now that we don’t realize that they’re shortened forms of words,” Church said. “For example zoo is actually from zoological garden. Words like pop, as in pop culture, of course are from popular culture.”
Sarah Snavely, library director for the Bowman Regional Public Library is happy to see the new
“I think that the English language is rich and varied and that’s what is fabulous about it,” Snavely said. “Change is a good thing.”
The latest update of the OED, published on March 24, revises more than 1,900 entries and adds new words, according to the website.
Though some may think the new additions are recent coinages, OED’s research has found some of the initialisms date back decades.
“… our first quotation for OMG is from a personal letter from 1917,” according to the website. “The letters LOL had a previous life, starting in 1960, denoting an elderly woman (or ‘little old lady’…)”
The entry for FYI, or “for your information,” originated in memoranda in 1941, according to the website.
“It’s in the nature of the language to change and one of the ways to change is by adding new words in the lexicon whenever a need arises that hasn’t been met by an older word,” Church said.
Several phone calls and messages to OED officials were not returned.