As a sentimentalist, I resist the evolution of the English language. I’m not upset by the addition of new words but I lament the loss of old ones. I get quite excited when I discover an old word and try to work into a sentence through the day – I need to keep it alive that little bit longer.
Technology is responsible for many new words these days. Google has become a verb and there’s a need to stick ‘i’ in front of most saleable items. Some terms fall out of use almost as rapidly as they’re invented – remember that narrow window of time when it was cool to say ‘book’? Those were the days when predictive text on your mobile phone alternated between ‘book’ and ‘cool’. After that, technology moved onto autocorrect and that glorious day I asked my husband to ‘sick me up’.
I consider myself, in my own private universe, an inventor of words. I’m sure this isn’t unique to me. Whether by intention or happenstance we invent words relevant to our families and our lives. I habitually extend words to ‘cute-ify’ things. Like spiders are ‘spinskees’ (because they need a good dose of cute-ification) and mice are ‘minchkees’. Sometimes my husband arranges my mad-cap descriptions into a single word. The other day I called our cat a ‘furry monkey’ and as quick as a flash my husband adds, ‘That would make him “funkey”’, he paused before adding, ‘Or “murry”, but that’s not as good’. Admittedly, together we have a supply of these words designed solely for the cat. My favourite is ‘peets’ – paws and feet.
‘Peets’ is my own invention, but if I’m honest, most of my words form by accident. When in Scotland, we discovered the word ‘crabbit’. It means grouchy and it’s probably derived from (or related to) ‘crabby’ which is the form I’m familiar with. I inexplicably found ‘crabbit’ really amusing. When either my husband or I got a little irritable, we began saying to each other, ‘don’t be crabbit’ and we’d instantly start smirking. In one such moment, I accidently told my husband not to be ‘grumpit’ – that unique blend of grumpy and crabbit with the fortune of sounding like a delicious toasty breakfast treat.
‘Grumpit’ is my new favourite word.
What are your word inventions? Do tell.