Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Twit

Old Books
Old Books by Kraybon

Amongst all my other pursuits, I love to read. I get lost in the story, watching
the scenes unfold in full Technicolor in my mind's eye. In fact, I often have
trouble surfacing to the real world from a particularly well-told story... much
to the chagrin of my family. Because I love to read, however, I am also inclined
to notice and appreciate unusual or extravagant language choices.

Like saying perchance instead of by any chance. Or indubitably instead of of
. I am often teased about my word choices when I am exceptionally tired- I evidently wind up sounding like an 18th century dictionary. Not that I notice, particularly, but the gales of laughter from my friends and family invariably give me away.

Recently, however, I used a phrase without thinking, and nearly had my head
bitten off by a particularly anti-technology friend of mine. My errant statement
from the conversation went something like this:

"I didn't mean to offend you, I was only twitting you about your focus."

At which point I was treated to a short, but heartfelt, lecture on the insidious
influence of Twitter on the English language. "Tweet is not a real verb!! It's
made up! And you call yourself a lover of excellent English, you hypocrite."
am exaggerating, somewhat, there was no name calling. But I think it was a near thing, to be sure.

The point is, I do love the English language in all it's complicated majesty. I
think it's fascinating to look at contradictory rules of speech in society, and
to watch them change year in and year out. But this time I was actually upset.

The person to whom I was talking is a very intelligent individual, if not so
literarily inclined. I am no old fogey either, to spin tales of "When I was
young...." to a disbelieving younger generation. I'm still under 30- and will
be for several years!

Yet this seemed to me to be highly significant. Our modern society has so warped a beautiful piece of interesting English that not only is it no longer commonly used- but it's not even faintly remembered in it's proper place.

So that there will be some modern remembrance of this suddenly out-moded term, I
give you this definition:

Twit- verb. To tease, to make fun, to use in a lighthearted yet chastening way.

He twitted her about the vanity of her new hat.

I have absolutely nothing against Twitter. I enjoy it, at times. But I object
most strongly to the appropriation and misuse of already taken segments of the
English language.

Let us have the majesty, and invent new terms for new technology. Surely a
society that produces such amazing new social tools can also produce new phrases
and verbiage to go with each advance!

Care to twistle, anyone?

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