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How Words Die

Although certain words are seemingly immortal like and, the, and is, others do meet their death. When a word meets its death, it becomes obsolete. The King James version of the Bible as well as any one of Shakespeare’s plays contains a vast sum of words that, today, are obsolete. Slang words and colloquialisms are also quick to become obsolete. This is because slang and colloquialisms generally come into existence through trends. Speaking trends fade in and fade out just as quickly as the latest fashion trends.

Some words do not fade away, but their meaning does. A well-known example of such a phenomenon is the word gay, which at one time meant “happy.” Today the word is used in reference to homosexuality. And did you know that nice originally referred to something that was “silly” or “foolish”? Other meanings of words are surely on their way out as technology advances.
For example, very few people actually “dial” a number into their phone because there are few rotary phones still in use. Along the same lines, singers no longer put out “albums” because we now have compact discs rather than records. It is probably just a matter of time until these meanings die.

When you study the life of a word, it is easy to see that English is truly a unique language. Studying its history, its life, and its patterns is both fascinating and helpful in learning to communicate effectively. Excelling in your use of the English language in graduate school will contribute greatly to your success. Success in graduate school will lead to success in your career which is your ultimate goal. Knowing this should make you all the more diligent in your study of English and the words that make up the one true global language.

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