New words

All languages evolve – if they don’t, they’re dead (Latin anyone?) New words arise from many sources. ‘Twerking’ was coined in the New Orleans bounce scene in the 1990s, and Miley Cyrus did the rest. Shakespeare alone added 1700+ words to English, including ‘amazement’, ‘bandit’, ‘dawn’, ‘hint’ and ‘secure’. Invaders, neighbours and trading partners have been hugely important. The number of words the Vikings added to the language is astonishing: ‘anger’, ‘call’, ‘give’, ‘knife’, ‘take’, ‘score’ – imagine modern English without those? In contrast, I doubt we’ll be using ‘twerking’ and ‘bezzy’ long.

Twerking and bezzy were just added to Collins Official Scrabble Words. Read Jennifer Down’s column in Overland here.

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