Sunday, March 14, 2010

Another Word Bites the Dust

Society needs words to convey many things such as objects and feelings.  Words are the building blocks of language and without language we are nothing.

Many of the words we use today evolved from ancient Latin and sometimes contain obvious links to their origin.

Some words are simple such as ‘pinpoint’ which is merely the combination of two words signifying quite literally an exact location.

Others words are a bit more obscure such as ‘posthumous.’  This word comes from the two Latin words ‘post,’ a prefix meaning ‘after’ and the verb ‘humare,’ ‘to bury.’  Together they form the idea of ‘after death.’

Occasionally we even use the word and it’s meaning together in an otherwise seemingly redundant sentence such as, “We pinpointed the exact location of the grave in which Mr. Smith was buried in order to award him his medal posthumously.”

Luckily we can use our words without having to hearken back to their origins every time we open our mouths.  Words give us comfort and in some ways are our friends.

Unfortunately every once in a while someone will hijack a friend of ours.   They take our words away from us and return them with different meanings.  They cause us to change the way we think and express ourselves.

A perfect example is the old word ‘Gay’ which was used for so many years to express a feeling of joy.  It now has a completely different meaning which still gives joy but to a far smaller group of users.  The rest of us are forced to change our language slightly so as not to offend, well, just plain happy people.

Like human beings words also evolve. (Creationists may stop reading at this point.)

Even the word evolve comes from another Latin word which itself evolved from ‘volva’ to ‘vulva’ meaning to expand or twist.

Evolve has nothing to do with all the other new “E” words that have cropped up recently.  This includes the computer world which itself has evolved from the Univac days although you may wish to e-mail this post to others.

Evolve simply signifies the twisting of what was into what is.  It is an ever changing expansion and twisting of our lives which may cause distress not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Recently I enjoyed a nice vacation in the Cayman Islands.  I enjoyed the warmer weather the change of scenery and the different culture.
I also enjoyed swimming, ‘with my head just below the surface of the water with a tube in my mouth that reached the air above allowing me to breath while being submerged for a long period of time sporting a clear plastic-faced mask that covered my nose and eyes allowing me to watch fish swim by.’

There used to be a word for that but I can no longer tell people what I did without having them looking at me oddly.

I guess I just long for the days when I could have said, “I had a gay time snorkeling!”

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