The Baby Boomers generation, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, have seen more change than any other group of humans who ever lived.
They have had to be incredibly adaptable.
The evolution of the workplace, entertainment, social interactions – almost everything – from 60 years ago, when there was no such thing as a digital anything, to today, when there’s hardly anything that isn’t digital, has been incredible.
I saw an advert for a fridge that, if you chap on its door, becomes transparent allowing you to see inside. I’m not sure how this improves upon opening the door. But this is, we are told, “progress”.
It is a measure, in a small way, of how much the world has changed.
I suspect tomorrow’s world (not presented by Raymond Baxter) will have even more things that will make me wonder even more why they exist.
But what we don’t have is enough new words.
I am constantly annoyed that old words take on new meanings at the drop of a hat. I worry that something I say or write will have a new meaning I didn’t know of and I will either offend someone or make a fool of myself. Again.
To illustrate this, I listened (with some amusement) to a 17-year-old girl and an 86-year-old man discussing trans issues.
They both tried hard to be polite, because this is an emotive subject. They didn’t, I’m afraid, achieve much except mutual confusion because she was speaking about gender recognition while he was speaking about Ford Transit vans.
It would be better, surely, if new words were invented for new things.
I often wonder things like: who decided that a colonnade was to be the name for a line of columns? (it is from the Latin columna). Or that rhubarb be called rhubarb? (it is from the Greek rha barbaron).
Who first named an apple, a kiss, blood, an egg, a pencil? Who decided a ship was to be called a ship? Whoever it was, I salute their originality.
In all of these cases (I spent several enjoyable hours researching the etymological histories) the terms stretch back hundreds, or thousands, of years.
I think a computer program should have been given another name because the word program (or programme…blame the Americans) already had a use. So did disc, virus, meta, and an awful lot of other words I wouldn’t be allowed to put in The Courier.
It is odd that a world that has invented so many things isn’t much good at inventing names for them.
Word of the week
The act of taking back, without legal process, something that has been wrongfully taken from you or withheld. EG: “I think the past should recaption its terminology from the future.”
Read the latest Oh my word! every Saturday in The Courier. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org