September 13, 2007

Damn Changes

The other day I was on the phone with an old friend talking about this and that, politics, literature and some of the rapidly changing phenomena of the day.

I can’t remember exactly what the topic was, but I commented on the pace of our speedily evolving language. Words that had one meaning just a few years ago can often mean something quite different now. Even the correct spelling of many words has now been altered.

We both tsk-tsked about it ... not that this is a awful thing exactly ... since this shift has always happened ... but because we miss some of the words that no longer seem to appear in the dictionary and the meanings of others have often been changed so dramatically that our own use of the tongue is sometimes now archaic.

I just discovered that the meaning of a word I used in a recent post had been dramatically mutated from a more innocent meaning to something quite different. The word was "bawdy". And the only reason I realized that my use of the word was old-speak was because I am a simply awful speller.

I noticed that the word I had written; "baudy", had that little red line underneath it, that through the magic of "spell-check", indicates to us that something is wrong. Now, that doesn't always mean I have spelled something incorrectly, but that I am using an old early 20th century spelling. But this time I was simply spelling the word incorrectly.

The thing that threw me was that the primary meaning of the word had changed. I remember that the word "bawdy" used to mean that the subject matter was a little suggestive or a bit off color, maybe even somewhat vulgar, but generally rather innocent. now defines the word to mean; indecent; lewd; obscene:

Well, this is where I put my foot down. I will not accept this new meaning. At least until someone shows me another word which will evoke the same thought. Don't get me started on the word; "gay".

Posted by Judi at September 13, 2007 5:55 PM | TrackBack
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