Forgive my haterade clicktivism, but we don’t need these new words

by on February 27, 2017 at 2:08 pm in Education | Permalink

New coinages that reflect the latest wave of online political activism form a significant section of more than 300 new definitions in the database, which is a sister work to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Additions including “clicktivism” (a pejorative word for armchair activists on social media), “haterade” (excessive negativity, criticism, or resentment), “otherize” (view or treat – a person or group of people – as intrinsically different from and alien to oneself) and “herd mentality” (the tendency for people’s behaviour or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong) all emerged during the 2016 battle for the White House, said head of content development Angus Stevenson.

Who exactly is the gatekeeper?:

“Craptacular” (remarkably poor and disappointing), “bronde” (hair dyed both blond and brunette) and “fitspiration” (a person or thing that serves as motivation for someone to sustain or improve health and fitness) all made the cut.

Here is the Guardian story by Danuta Kean.

1 Hadur February 27, 2017 at 2:13 pm

The 2016 election really did see a lot of weird concepts and phrases that used to be limited to online discussion forums for the far left or far right gain mainstream usage.

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2 prior_test2 February 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Yep, but ‘alternative facts’ is a Trump Administration coinage exclusive.

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3 TMC February 27, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Sure. “Alternative facts is a term in law to describe inconsistent sets of facts put forth by the same party in a court given that there is plausible evidence to support both alternatives.[1][2] The term is also used to describe competing facts for the two sides of the case.[3]

Oddly enough, she’s a lawyer, using a law term. And bonus point for Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_facts_(law)

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4 txslr February 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm

The nerve!

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5 Ricardo February 28, 2017 at 12:15 am

So much the worse for the legal profession then. Any lawyer who uses this term in public can and should expect to get roasted. Moreover, actual legal proceedings benefit from ground rules such as the ability to cross-examine the other side under oath and harsh penalties for lying.

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6 Thomas February 28, 2017 at 1:56 am

She should have expected the press to dishonestly describe this term.

7 Rich Berger February 27, 2017 at 2:17 pm

How about schadenboner? HT to the Ace of Spades.

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8 Rich Berger February 27, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Or bigly. That will be yuge.

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9 Ian February 27, 2017 at 2:21 pm

There’s no gatekeeper for language.

We have those new words whether or not the dictionary provides a definition. Adding them to the dictionary simply means that people who encounter them for the first time can more easily discover their meanings.

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10 James February 27, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Exactly. Language, and the English language in particular, are organic, created by those of us who use them. (Some, like Arabic and French, have official or semi-official gatekeepers, but they’re fighting a losing battle.) Folks will use these new words whether they are in dictionaries or not; it’s just a question of whether we want dictionaries to reflect how language “should” be used, or how it IS used.

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11 So Much For Subtlety February 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm

This is actually not what we see in the real world. In the real world government stamp out languages and replace what people speak organically with what they learn from a book all the time. France refuses to sign the European convention on the Rights of minority languages for precisely this reason. At the time of the Revolution over half of all French people did not speak French. Now virtually all of them do. But they continue to drive Occtian and Basque and Breton and German into extinction. Because they can. Brittany now has no significant Breton-speaking population. The German that the Germans of Alsace organically spoke has been almost entirely replaced by French.

The fact that they are not succeeding with a few English terms beloved of Yuppies does not change that fact.

It is true across Europe. German dialects are rapidly disappearing. Will anyone speak Saxon in the next generation? Catalan is fighting back and may survive. Italian dialects are probably not going to survive. Already non-Italian languages in Italy – like Spanish in Sardinia and Greek in the South – have disappeared. Is Slovene still spoken in Italy? I doubt it.

It is true beyond Europe. One hundred years ago the majority of Mexicans probably did not speak Spanish. They do now.

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12 tony cohen February 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

There is also a significant aspect of efficacy and opportunity cost. Most people learn a very small number of languages, and a spend a finite amount of time. Having a language that isn’t very global is tough.

There are some deliberately awful efforts to destroy a language and a culture and I think these are wrong. But there are a lot of languages that are disappearing due to a lack of efficacy. PNG has (had) like 800 languages, one for almost each tiny band in their crazy dense jungle interior. Not so great if you want to talk to more than 100 people.

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13 James February 27, 2017 at 10:24 pm

That may be part of the equation. However, it’s not all. Languages change as they are used–see the existence of slang, and regional dialects.

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14 James February 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Forgot to mention: There are also constructed languages. This goes FAR beyond what most people realize–Tolkien more or less started it, and sci-fi seems to have popularized it, but there are a lot of people who make up their own languages for fun. There are also experimental languages, testing the boundaries of what language IS. That’s something that wasn’t really possible in the past, at least not on this scale.

15 So Much For Subtlety February 28, 2017 at 2:33 am

Regional dialects are disappearing very rapidly. In some countries, like America, there are essentially none anyway.

It is not all the equation I agree. It is also true that teachers are lazy, ill-educated themselves and ideologically predisposed to hate the Standard form of the language. At least in the English speaking world. They want to be revolutionary and teach the language of the streets rather than the language of the Ivory Tower. But it is not inherent in the language itself. After all, Shakespeare and the King James Bible more or less froze the language until the 20th century. The century before Shakespeare saw enormous changes in the language. But Charles I would have had no problems understanding Prince Charles.

The claim that slang matters is just a rationalization for said laziness and gutter radicalism.

16 Troll me February 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

“It is also true that… (insert priors or hobby horses here)”.

17 Dick the Butcher February 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

The inmates are in charge of the asylum.

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18 ladderff February 28, 2017 at 7:01 am

Know how I know you’re gay?

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19 Thiago Ribeiro February 27, 2017 at 2:24 pm

“bronde” (hair dyed both blond and brunette)”
I didn’t need the word until I just found out that such a thing exists.

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20 peri February 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm
21 Thiago Ribeiro February 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm

It seems a crazy thing,

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22 The Cuckmeister-General February 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

What about CUCK?

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23 collin February 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm

+1….Probably the most important word in the Trump campaign.

Otherwise, I am still in awe that the Simpsons have made such an impact on society. I guess being the show for internet nerds has it’s benefits.

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24 Roy LC February 27, 2017 at 5:48 pm

“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man” – Hans Sprungfeld

That was probably the only Lisa episode I ever enjoyed. It also had Donald Sutherland as the historian and the word cromulent, which is in google’s dictionary while “nephrologist” is not.

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25 gab February 27, 2017 at 2:26 pm

I would keep “haterade,” “craptacular,” and “bronde.” I’m meh on the others.

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26 Alan February 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Craptastic is a keeper too. A play on Comcast ad lingo.

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27 Richard February 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm

“Herd mentality” is new? I don’t think so. I’ve been using it for years (but can’t claim to have coined it, as I was just following the crowd).

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28 Cliff February 27, 2017 at 3:41 pm

On the other hand, it is two words…

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29 ohwilleke February 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm

My thought exactly. That phrase is centuries old.

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30 Scott Mauldin February 27, 2017 at 2:44 pm

“Otherize” is a new form but the process it describes, “othering”, has been a mainstay of social science discourse for years.

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31 dearieme February 27, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Can’t say that I care for “discourse” in that sense. What about “bloviating”: is it in the OED?

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32 Hmmmmmmmm February 28, 2017 at 6:20 am

Yes. Earliest citation for “bloviate” is dated 1845.

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33 Troll me February 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What’s the correct word to describe the act of using language with the intent to suppress biovating? Or even something of sufficient depth or consideration to call discourse, for that matter?

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34 AlanG February 27, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Most people cannot even use the commonly used words in a correct manner. I think Tyler should channel his inner demons to pointing everyone to Strunk and White.

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35 let's be honest February 27, 2017 at 5:06 pm

MR itself doesn’t pass muster with Strunk and White.

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36 Axa February 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Never leave the monolingual comfort zone where you master the most commonly used words.

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37 Roy LC February 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm

Strunk and White doesn’t help much there, and Fowlers has always preferred the word “ironical” to “ironic” so it is clear we are already in the dark ages.

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38 Turkey Vulture February 27, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Per Ambrose Bierce:

LEXICOGRAPHER, n.
A pestilent fellow who, under the pretense of recording some particular stage in the development of a language, does what he can to arrest its growth, stiffen its flexibility and mechanize its methods. For your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered “as one having authority,” whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statute. Let the dictionary (for example) mark a good word as “obsolete” or “obsolescent” and few men thereafter venture to use it, whatever their need of it and however desirable its restoration to favor–whereby the process of impoverishment is accelerated and speech decays.

On the contrary, the bold and discerning writer who, recognizing the truth that language must grow by innovation if it grow at all, makes new words and uses the old in an unfamiliar sense, has no following and is tartly reminded that “it isn’t in the dictionary” –although down to the time of the first lexicographer (Heaven forgive him!) no author ever had used a word that _was_ in the dictionary. In the golden prime and high noon of English speech; when from the lips of the great Elizabethans fell words that made their own meaning and carried it in their very sound; when a Shakespeare and a Bacon were possible, and the language now rapidly perishing at one end and slowly renewed at the other was in vigorous growth and hardy preservation–sweeter than honey and stronger than a lion–the lexicographer was a person unknown, the dictionary a creation which his Creator had not created him to create.

God said: “Let Spirit perish into Form,”
And lexicographers arose, a swarm!
Thought fled and left her clothing, which they took,
And catalogued each garment in a book.
Now, from her leafy covert when she cries:
“Give me my clothes and I’ll return,” they rise
And scan the list, and say without compassion:
“Excuse us–they are mostly out of fashion.”

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39 Troll me February 28, 2017 at 3:19 pm

How about go read some Chaucer, and then tell us more about the virtues of rapid linuistic evolution.

Individuals and societies must be free to make their independent decisions (often not consciously) which lead to ongoing evolution of language.

But if I can’t understand what was written 50 years ago, this is not good for protecting and building knowledge.

Espeically in the neuro age, where confusion about rapidly changing meaning is conducive to extremely highly societal brainwashing risks.

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40 ClickByCommenter February 27, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I’ve heard “craptacular” and “haterade” since college, back in the pre-Internet days.

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41 Ray Lopez February 27, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Chill out, just maintain, no need to drink the haterade ’bout new words. Word out.

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42 Turkey Vulture February 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm

“Haterade clicktivism” just doesn’t feel grammatically correct to me.

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43 anon February 27, 2017 at 4:34 pm

The usage of ‘haterade’ is incorrect. But what did you expect?

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44 Roy LC February 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

I expect more, hatorade is clearly a noun, and it is not like wiktionary doesn’t exist.

I have drunk deeply of the hatorade here.

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45 charlies February 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm

This phenomenon originates with teenagers, particularly teenage girls.

If you interact with kids in high school, it is easy to see how the internet, social media, etc have been leading towards the teenager-ization of speech among.

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46 Troll me February 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm

I think kids have been doing it (ish) for a very long time.

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47 charlies February 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm

. . .adults.

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48 Alan February 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Had me in suspense there Charles

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49 rayward February 27, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Last night I watched a lecture on the King James Bible. Oh, the words! It’s true that the King James Bible is wonderful literature, but it’s also very dated (1611), with lots of words nobody uses anymore, or use but with a different meaning. Many of my evangelical friends rely on the King James Bible because they want the original words of Jesus and His followers, which is amusing. For those who don’t know, the New Testament was originally written in Greek, even though Jesus and His Disciples didn’t speak or write Greek. But that didn’t really matter since the Church (i.e., the Catholic Church) for hundreds of years forbade any Bible not in Latin, claiming it heresy for the Bible to be in a language that Christians could actually read! The King James Bible is mostly a copy of the Tyndale Bible, written by William Tyndale, who, appropriately, was burned at the stake for his heresy. Words can be powerful and must be kept from the common folk or they might start asking questions.

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50 So Much For Subtlety February 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm

For those who don’t know, the New Testament was originally written in Greek, even though Jesus and His Disciples didn’t speak or write Greek.

Is there a category of Fake History? Because this does not quite make it. It is too pathetic to be fake. Jesus et al tend to have the Greek forms of their names, not the original Hebrew. Mary for instance. That suggests that they grew up in an environment where Greek was common. Jesus is recorded speaking to non-Jews, even Roman soldiers, without a translator. Presumably that would be in Greek. He even makes a joke in Greek.

Which, you know, would suggest to me that perhaps Jesus spoke a little Greek. What do you think Ray?

But that didn’t really matter since the Church (i.e., the Catholic Church) for hundreds of years forbade any Bible not in Latin, claiming it heresy for the Bible to be in a language that Christians could actually read!

Again this does not even rise to the level of fake. The Catholic Church has never had a problem with Bibles in languages other than Latin. It is trivial to google Catholic bibles older than Tyndale in other languages besides Latin. Think of the Uniate Churches for a moment. What they had an objection to was heresy in those translations.

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51 gab February 27, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Wait a minute! A guy who rose from the dead couldn’t learn Latin fast enough to talk with Roman soldiers? Is that what you’re saying here?

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52 So Much For Subtlety February 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm

I was rather discounting the possibility of Supernatural aid. Let’s agree to put that aside and focus on the more corporal evidence.

Jesus spoke to a lot of non-Jews. Especially soldiers. Who would have been local – Pontius Pilate was not a Senator and hence could not command Roman soldiers. Local means Greek or perhaps Samaritan. Presumably not Jewish.

He also spoke to Pilate. I wonder in what language? Greek was the language of the Roman East but would the prefect speak it?

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53 James February 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

There’s also the fact that during the Roman Empire and Middle Ages you could assume that anyone who could read could read Latin. Having the book in that language made the most sense, as it would allow the widest possible audience.

Not sure about the argument that since they had Greek forms of their names, the folks in the Bible were in an area where Greek was common. It could just as easily be that the folks who wrote the book used those forms because THEY spoke Greek. A lot of the folks involved were lower-class, and Greek was the language of the upper class.

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54 Ricardo February 28, 2017 at 4:33 am

The native language of Jesus and the Jewish community he came from was, I think, Aramaic. Greek was a second language for many people in the Eastern Mediterranean, the same way English is used today with varying degrees of fluency around the world. It was the go-to if you needed to communicate with someone from a different community.

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55 The Centrist February 27, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Rayward, this is a craptacular tissue of falsehoods. If this site were moderated you’d be given a week’s suspension.

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56 Danno755 February 28, 2017 at 1:22 am

They forbade Protestant bibles too. John Rogers was burn at the stake by Queen Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rogers_(Bible_editor_and_martyr)

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57 thfmr February 27, 2017 at 5:12 pm

This morning I listened to a “The Psychology Podcast” episode that featured two grown men saying “like” 3-4 times in a sentence, giggling at their own jokes, using upspeak, and peppering their speech with “unpack,” “resonate,” and so forth. One of these guys is a Ph.D. and the other an apparently acclaimed author.

Meanwhile Sam Harris speaks better than most people write. And still nary a mention of him in these parts…

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58 babar February 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm

i like “endearritating”, used to describe some movies and such

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59 Bill February 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm

The gatekeepers of a language are each other person.

Think of it this way: If you say a word that the other person does not understand you are not communicating. It is only if the other person understand the word are you communicating. So, the frequency and understanding of usage is the gatekeeper, and the language is the commons. There is no gatekeeper of the commons.

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60 The Other Jim February 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

“Craptacular” is at least 25 years old. Simpsons invention? Not sure.

“Otherize” is at last 15 years old, and one of the most important words in the Liberal Bible. Of the fifty shades of racism, it ranks dead last, but the term is easily vague enough that you can still imply someone is racist without them being even the slightest bit racist.

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61 Ben February 27, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Read a few lines from Hamlet and then read those words. I just puked in my mouth a little.

Western civ is dead. But hey we got diversity now.

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62 Bill Wobblejavlin February 27, 2017 at 11:33 pm

I agree. Few things disgust me more than that hack Shakespeare. Words that populist git introduced into mainstream usage apparently include: addiction, arch-villain, assassination, bedazzled, belongings, cold-blooded, dishearten, eventful, eyeball, fashionable, hot-blooded, inaudible, ladybird, manager, multitudinous, new-fangled, pageantry, scuffle, swagger, and uncomfortable.

The man simply had no respect at all for the way English was spoken at the time and so I can have no respect for him.

Or rather: Yfel ofercuman twêgen nu m.

As someone who truly respect the English language would say.

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63 Troll me February 28, 2017 at 5:42 am

“Otherize” is basically “Othering”, which goes way back in post-colonial theory, including various abstractions of self and other conceptions from before psychology got really neuro.

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