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Opening Arguments

Logophile's delight

But my head is already full!

Are you a locavore who decries the tapafication of restaurants or a latte liberal on the fence about Billary? No matter, the explosion of new words in the English language is enough to make you want to bury your head under a blankie or run off to Godzone.

English always has been a mongrel language, but thanks to e-mail and the Internet, the global spread of English and a playful response to changing times, new words and phrases are cropping up so quickly that one language-watcher calculates English is bearing down on a milestone: its 1-millionth word.

Actually, a lot of those words are so esoteric that many of us will never need them, and many are pop-culture buzz words with the shelf life of unrefrigerated mayonnaise. Most of us have vocabularies in the mere tens of thousands, and a couple of thousand get us through the average day. (And on some days, I swear I barely hear a couple of hundred, half of which involve variations on, "No, we don't do that.") 

And, no, students today don't have smaller vocabularies than students in the past. How could they, when you think about it?


Bob G.
Tue, 02/26/2008 - 4:59pm

That's why I'm working on my OWN lexicon, Leo.

ENVIRONMANGELIST - N: A person who preaches incessantly about the effects of Global Warming without knowing all the facts.
i.e. Al Gore