It looks like modern technology has brought the English language to a new low. “Unfriend” has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, chosen from a list of finalists with a tech-savvy bent.
The word, meaning “to remove someone as a “friend” on a social networking site such as Facebook” was chosen ahead of other such ridiculous words such as “intexticated”, “funemployed” and “sexting”.
Maybe I am just old fashioned, and hell I am not one to get all high and mighty on grammar, I struggle at the best of times, but these words remind me of Newspeak from George Orwell’s 1984. The premise is basically to reduce the number of words in the dictionary by removing words that are not needed and replacing them with modifications of other words. So, the opposite of “good” would no longer be “bad” but rather “ungood”.
Watching the BBC it is clear the English language is in enough trouble as it is. The TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” is the worst offender by far. Alesha Dixon is no candidate for Mensa it must be said, but the BBC should really give her some lessons in English and not allow her to come up with sentences such as “you was good” or “I think you done it better last time”.
As far as I am concerned there should be more focus on teaching correct use of the words currently in the dictionary, rather than dumbing down the dictionary even more than it already is.
One last thing, “Hashtag” was also a finalist. Sorry, I know what it is, but it sounds like a sport for drug users!