Our language is an ever changing entity, and the older I get, the more confused I am by the changes. The dictionary gets a workout around here and, lo and behold, it proves my theories wrong, more often than not, which frustrates me because as a word person I’m supposed to know these things.
Every time I see a news article or hear an announcer say that someone pleaded guilty, I’m irritated. I was taught that they pled, and so was my spouse. But when I looked it up, guess what? Either is correct.
Not according to my English teacher. I can still her asking a classmate whether he bleeded when he cut himself. She also believed that the sun shone brightly, but now I hear it shined yesterday. Oh yes, Webster agrees. Silly man.
Some of what I hear leaves me puzzled, but if it’s a term relating to our high tech world that’s ok. I need to learn it in order to get along in life. (By the way, what is a meme?) Never mind, I’ll look it up.
But there is a lot of gobble-de-gook out there. Yes, that is a real word, but I digress. My quarrel is with the shortcuts that have been adopted by reputable writers and reporters. Suddenly, my generation isn’t “woke” enough. I suppose it would take too long to say we are old fashioned, or maybe they just don’t want us to know we are being ridiculed. By the way, my dictionary still uses woke as not being asleep, but then my dictionary is old too.
Still, I’ve gotten called on my righteousness a couple of times lately, and realized a lot of how we speak has to do with our background. I said I was a bunch quitter the other day and my listener wanted to know what that meant. Geez, any cowboy, old or young, would know, but I was talking to a “townie.” She probably doesn’t know that term either, or that “rode hard and put up wet” means all used up. Last week, I wrote that I sometimes have a runaway, and assumed you knew that I overdid something. My neighbors referred to an old beater vehicle as a Whoopee, but Bruce had never heard of such, and had no idea what a hay waddie was. (Someone who works in the hayfield.)
Some terms are generational. I grew up making do when we needed something that was unavailable. We bided our time until we were able to afford something beyond our means. I’m not sure many folks nowadays, including our elected representatives, understand “beyond our means.”
Granny was fixing to go to the store but she commenced to clean the kitchen first. If you told her something outrageous she’d snort and say, “My hind foot!” In other words, she wasn’t buying it.
Ok. I admit the world moves on and I can choose to mount up and ride, or stay in the barn. But I really do think “woke,” as used today, would sound ridiculous coming out of the mouth of someone my age.