The latest version of the Collins English Dictionary has just been published, with some interesting new additions, including â€˜iPlayer, â€˜mankiniâ€™ (after Boratâ€™s legendary garment), and â€˜Twitterâ€™.
The words that officially enter the language no doubt reflect the influences and preoccupations of our times. So, after looking over this yearâ€™s new entries, I couldnâ€™t help but wonder: is the future of English completely ruled by television and technology?
Well, not completely. The explosion of the social media trend definitely makes its mark: from the names of key sites to phonetically spelled words and phrases (surely more likely to be instant messaged than looked up) such as â€˜heh hehâ€™, â€˜mwahâ€™ and â€˜sozâ€™.
However, our cultureâ€™s growing bent towards greener living is also represented, so we find out that an â€˜ecolodgeâ€™ is a sustainable hotel, and to be â€˜carborexicâ€™ is to be â€˜a person obsessed with reducing their carbon footprintâ€™. Our fascination with celebrity-inspired trends combines neatly with the reality of living in the current economy in the word â€˜frugalistaâ€™: â€˜a person who tries to stay fashionably dressed on a budgetâ€™.
This does beg the question: does anyone actually use these words? Or have the writers at Collins just been having fun making them up?
Still, the question of technologyâ€™s power over the way we write (and speak) could be greater than we realise. As a society increasingly melded to our PCs, iPhones and MacBooks, our use of grammar could come to be ruled by Microsoft Wordâ€™s occasionally erratic placing of squiggly lines. But thatâ€™s another storyâ€¦