Are our words losing their power? As language evolves we are bombarded with catchy phrases and cleaver twists of common words. But is the impact of them then changed to a shallow, cool version of the words rich history? Words that can be traced back to their Latin roots and have withstood the test of time- retaining value through wars and depressions, scholarly discoveries and exploration. They are now reduced to a bumbling chain of syllables that a lot of people do not understand much less respect. Or is this the modern twist on the evolution of a word?
The hip-hop culture is famous for reworking words or coming up with completely new words. And although slang has always played a part in history, the hip-hop artists are taking it to a new level; the words are changing so fast and so far from their origins, that it is almost a new language- a person needs to be encircled in it to keep up. But why do they do this? Does it give the culture validity when a language accompanies it? I believe hip-hop is more then just the music, the bling-bling and the alliance to their hometown. It has become a lifestyle, and every lifestyle comes with standards. Kind of like a class standard, the middle class has behaviors and language that they are accustom to, as do the upper and lower classes. The hip-hop community has taken words and made them their own, giving them relevance in that pretence. The gay lifestyle has a culture and language, as do republicans and democrats, and certainly religions have a lifestyle and wording that is significant to their beliefs. When grouped together for whatever reason (interests, social status, religion, upbringing, etc.) we develop a repertoire, our gesturing become similar, and our language is assimilated, we become familiar and accepted. If we look at lifestyles with the same respects as class then slang is a acceptable way of speaking to each other and the integrity of the word is intact.
I believe the power in a word is determined with how it is said, in what pretence and how it is received. If those three things are authentic then a word retains its history and, although many may not like where words are evolving to, slang is a respectable part of our language.