Did you hear?! w00t has been named the word of the year by Merriam-Webster! I wish I had some sort of short exclamation I could use to express my joy! Oh wait, I know: HOORAY!
As a side note, this marks the first time a word comprised partly of numbers (the O’s are traditionally zeros) has been put into the Dictionary since 2003’s inclusion of “Sk8r Boi.” The Definition? “(N.)-One who wasn’t good enough for her / But now he’s a superstar / Slammin’ on his guitar / Does her pretty face see what he’s worth?”
In all seriousness, I’ve got to say this is something of a troubling sign. I’m all for gamer slang; anything that keeps a barrier of understanding between them and me is all right in my book. But the fact that it’s gaining mainstream acceptance gives the linguophile in me a shiver of fear, and a vision of a day when l33t is the U.S.’s official language.
To be fair, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is chosen by Internet ballot, so it makes sense we’d be seeing things like “truthiness” and “blog” start making the rounds. But is that really what we want? Do we really want the same folks who create
entire online encyclopedias just to chronicle their “hilarious” labyrinthine subculture deciding the direction the English language is going in?
And by “hilarious,” I mean roflcopter lolcat zomg kekeke!!!1!!one!!I’m hilarious!!!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where when I drop a bag of groceries while walking home from the store, there are good odds that someone walking by will mutter “you just got RickRoll’d.” Sure, it sounds cool now, but trust me; it’d get old REAL quick.
To that end, I hereby nominate a word of my own creation for the 2008 word of the year:
The point in human history at which language becomes so fractured by subculture slang and the rapid invention of new words that no human being is capable of communicating intelligibly with another, and the world is thrown violently back into the Dark Ages.
And believe me, The Roflrift is coming.