The Talk–The Time
“Very well,” says I, “let us go to the Ferry.”
“Yes, it’s red,” she said resignedly. “Now you see why I can’t be
perfectly happy. Nobody could who has red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much–“
“My dear Holmes,” said I, “this is too much–“
Can you guess who wrote these lines or these stories?
You’ve noticed that these attributes shout dated, and we are talking old here. But then how old is old? Is fifteen years ago old? In 1996 car jacked seemed a common enough term, but now everyone says, jacked. And even years before 9/11 airlines pretty much eradicated our jokes about “Hi, Jack.”
Some of our most popular nursery rhymes date back to ancient societies and hold charm for generations long after their meanings are lost. Bill Bryson (Made In America, 1995) in his unique wit and style mentions that “eenie, meenie, minie, mo” were ways for people to quantify thing that predated the Roman’s occupation of Brittan. He delights us with the image that maybe children contemporary with Stonehenge amused themselves with these counting words.
“Little things, in short, are worth looking at. ” Bryson goes on to caution us to, “–understand the social context in which words were formed–to appreciate the richness and vitality off the words that make up our speech.”
So what about these words: peeps, presh, ping?
These will be familiar to you if you are engulfed in electronic social connections. Isn’t it great to access information about everyone and everything we care about? All the while our families, our jobs, or our pets nudge us to attend to them but we think, ” Wait, just a sec. Just have to check this next message. And there’s that one last email–and someone just sent me a photo.”
The immediate and complex connections we enjoy with the world on our computers and phones will force some major shifts in our language, I’m sure of this. I think we’re in store for even greater expansion of our informational world making our world and the language we use to describe our world even more unique. Haven’t you noticed that it’s becoming difficult to tell what’s real and what isn’t? Think photo shop and the newest interactive video games. However, I personally hope that peeps never totally replaces people.
(First quote: Robert L. Stephenson, Kidnapped. Second quote: L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. Third quote: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Homes.)