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erichw1504's avatar

Is the Oxford English Dictionary foreshadowing the apocalypse?

Asked by erichw1504 (26329 points ) March 24th, 2011

I did a physical facepalm and then LOL’d when reading this article.

They’re planning to add OMG, LOL, and other phrases to their list of words. What do you make of this? Are you thinking, “finally”? Or is this just insanity? Are we nearing the end of times?

What else, in your opinion, should they add?

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23 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Actually, I’m all for this – the people decide what the language is, not the OED. The OED’s job is simply to create a full and official dictionary of the language. Once it starts playing “God”, as it were, it’s no longer a useful and reliable tool.

AmWiser's avatar

WTF….

troubleinharlem's avatar

Where is ROFLOMGWTBBQ?

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@troubleinharlem I only know what the first four letters of that mean :P
We use OMG and LOL mostly in texts and on the internet. No one actually says O.M.G. like that. But we use it so much on the Internet and our phones that I think it would make sense to put it in the dictionary.
At least to catalog it for future generations in case we ever stop using it

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess Rolling On Floor Laughing, Oh My God, What The Barbecue?

anartist's avatar

@erichw1504 aw gowwan! Don’t be such a word-prude. One of the functions of a dictionary is to capture the evolutions in the language. What to include or not include is very intensely debated as a few words are pruned and new ones added. One thing I am sure they will not do: add a lot of txt-speak. Just a few terms that have crossed over into the general population [grandfathers who do not text but use LOL in their emails] to give the flavor of a contemporary language variation.

wundayatta's avatar

The Apocalypse is always being foreshadowed. It must be the most foreshadowed thing of all time.

Sorry. No. The dictionary is not that important in the overall scheme of the universe. Yeah, plenty of people will bemoan the loss of education and whatnot, but as @MyNewtBoobs said, the dictionary documents the change in the usage of language, as it happens on the street, not in the halls of academe.

Now, if the dictionary were to stop doing its job—and remain carved in stone, that would be a much more serious sign of the end.

MacBean's avatar

I’m all for this. Language evolves; the dictionary should reflect that.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It just goes to show that the English language is still alive, growing and vital, something for which we should all be pleased.

Ladymia69's avatar

I am indifferent. By the way, whenever I say LOL I pronounce it like a word, like “loll”. It’s just funnier that way. I figured awhile back that if I had to live with that word, I was gonna say it the way I wanted to.

DanniDisasterr's avatar

It’s a sad sad day when the english language become completely abbreviated into pointless things such as LOL… i’d love to see the definition.

Shegrin's avatar

Just because it’s in the dictionary does NOT mean my kids will be allowed to use it in their essays.Show me you know it for real. S-p-e-l-l i-t o-u-t.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

For anyone who says this is an abomination, perhaps if you used more complex and large words in your everyday speech that are not yet part of the OED, you could balance it out and change things for the better.

@Shegrin What kids?

Shegrin's avatar

The kids in my classes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Shegrin It also has contractions, so I don’t think this is the first time kids will find out they can’t use it just because it’s in the OED.

gasman's avatar

People expect dictionaries to be prescriptive (a final arbiter) while lexicographers strive to be descriptive of current language. Since “LOL” is considered part of modern vocabulary, with plenty of citations to support the claim, it should be duly noted by linguistic scholars in OED.

janbb's avatar

Actually, some dictionaries see their mission as descriptive (language as it is) while others see their mission as prescriptive (language as it should be.) It’s all good.

morphail's avatar

When the third edition of Webster’s dictionary was published in 1961 it was called a “scandal and a disaster”, a “political pamphlet”, “bolshevik”. The end times were coming, apparently. Why? Only because it described usage, and labeled certain words as “nonstandard” or “slang”.

And yet English survived!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@janbb Which are which?

janbb's avatar

I learned in library school many years ago and sadly don’t remember. I believe Random House is descriptive. Many will tell you in their Forward.

ratboy's avatar

IMHO*, the Official Lexicon of English consists of exactly those words that were in common use at 12:37 PM EST on March 4, 1972.

**OED*
Draft partial entry June 2003

▸ {IMHO} phr. (also imho) colloq. (used chiefly in electronic communications) in my humble opinion; (occas. also) in my honest opinion.

1984 Re: Info wanted on Beta Tapes in net.video (Usenet newsgroup) 23 Feb. The Sony and Maxell tapes are, *imho [in my honest opinion], almost indistinguishable in quality, and are the only kind I buy now.    1993 E. S. Raymond New Hacker’s Dict. (ed. 2) 236 IMHO, mixed-case C names should be avoided, as mistyping something in the wrong case can cause hard-to-detect errors.    2001 D. Mitchell Number 9 Dream 51 A decent rain will bring hundreds of umbrellas. Not the most inspiring job, but it beats leaping around a garage forecourt or delivering pizzas, imho.
—OED

Symbeline's avatar

Well, whether we like it or not, these are now prominent…words? I’m sure their intent is to reference what is, rather than to champion online lingo or predict Ragnarok.

fremen_warrior's avatar

I think <facepalm> should be in the dictionary, preferably just after <creationism>.

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