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July 17, 2012

YOLO to Become a Real Word?

By Lyndsay Krisel, TMCnet Contributor

The majority of us, if not all people, living in today’s society are quite up-to-date on some of the most recent slang words that have entered into the vocabulary of several young teens and college students.  Short, clever phrases that have been used to reference everyday living such as creeping, cray, legbomb, Tebowing, tweeps, sweatworking and the most famous expression known as 'yolo.' These slang words have just about taken over the English language, so much so that they are now being considered as real words to be published in the newest version of the English Dictionary. And no, this is not a joke.

Recent reports have stated that, Collins, a leading British dictionary publisher since 1819 has been itching for new language, and who better to turn to than the public itself to suggest some new words?

“For Collins Online Dictionary, it was essential that we keep our ear close to the ground listening out for new words emerging from pop culture, science, and technology,” said Alex Brown, head of digital at Collins. “Most dictionaries are static. By allowing the public to truly participate, we’re ensuring that we stay on top of the evolving English language.”

Well, they certainly found the right material from pop culture, the media, and maybe technology based on the latest social feeds out there, but science? It seems as though some language developers should get their heads screwed on right as to which words can truly be useful to our intellectually shaped language, and which “rapper style” lingo should remain among the kids. Although, “yolo” cleverly invented by popular freestyle artist, Drake, would make for an entertaining new “motto” followed by many. These days, it seems as though language has no limits, therefore it is considered OK for the English language to be dumb down in order to create new editions.

The article explains that anyone is able to submit words they deem appropriate, and Collins will provide suggestions on its site for feedback, and then select some of the most popular for inclusion based on frequency use and number of sources.

The Collins Corpus, recognized as the 4.5-billion word database of language, will take words from a wide-range of English sources such as newspapers, radio and social media, and determines how important the word is to society as a whole.

It seems as though the book’s sole purpose however, according to the article, is to become more in-tune with people’s imaginations when it comes to language, and in that sense the dictionary will beyond doubt capture some unique material.

“We know people are passionate about the preservation and evolution of the English language, and we want to tap into that as new words continue to capture the public imagination,” added Brown.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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