Thursday, October 12, 2006

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.


Michael Tompkins said...

Words won't ever lose their power. Shakespeare has lastest for several hundred years. The problem is that there has never been a time in history where people have been inundated with so many words from so many sources. Of course the bad ones or the poorly worded ones are going to be weeded out.

cola said...

Thank you so much for commenting...

I agree. But this abundance of sources is watering down the pool. "Ain't" is in the dictionary! What is it coming too?