13
Jun
10

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACCORDING TO THE NEW YORK TIMES.


I came across the following article on CNN entitled “The New York Times bans use of word ‘tweet.’” You can view the article at. http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/social.media/06/11/new.york.times.tweet/index.html

And it has been posted as well via the website. http://www.theawl.com/ You can view the post on the awl also at. http://www.theawl.com/2010/06/new-york-times-bans-the-word-tweet

Merriam-Webster defines the word “tweet” as the following.

Main Entry: tweet

Pronunciation: \twēt\

Function: noun

Etymology: imitative

Date: 1768

: A chirping note

tweet intransitive verb

Within both online news articles the following comment was made about not using the word “tweet” by the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/ Their reasoning for this was the following. “Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, “tweet” has not yet achieved the status of Standard English. And Standard English is what we should use in news articles.”

Judging by the Merriam-Webster definition of the word “tweet” they would stand to be correct on this subject. However what would happen if Merriam-Webster updates the definition of the word “tweet” to include the following such as.

“A method of communications via the internet or smart phone device with a limit of one-hundred and forty characters.”

After all the word “blog” was added to Merriam-Webster.

Main Entry: blog

Pronunciation: \blȯg, bläg\

Function: noun

Etymology: short for Weblog

Date: 1999

: A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer; also: the contents of such a site.

blog·ger noun

blog·ging noun

That was entered into Merriam-Webster in nineteen ninety-nine, Twitter was founded in the year two thousand-six. From the creation of blog or “blogging” back in nineteen-ninety it took about ten years give or take for Merriam-Webster to add it into is dictionary. If the pattern remains the same then the word “tweet” could be modified to reflect the micro-blogging website Twitter in the year twenty six-teen. Now that is only six years away.

There seems to be a pattern by Merriam-Webster to see if a newly created word is used for proximity ten years by society and or all of man-kind and that it’s not just a “phase” or “short trend.” This would explain the long period of time as to when a word is added to their dictionary.

Maybe the “The Gray Lady” (as the New York Times is nick named) is playing it safe in its own little way by not using  the word “twitter” until Merriam-Webster officially adds it to its dictionary? And if so are we all wrong for using it in such a format? Maybe that is the case or not. For if I recall correctly the position of standards editor at the New York Times was created after the Jayson Blair plagiarism and fabrication scandal. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayson_Blair So maybe the New York Times does want to play it safe? It would be funny I think if Merriam-Webster added the word ahead of the ten-year schedule of waiting and added it within another year or two.

So I guess until then we are all using improper English? As long as we are all are trying to get our message across to the other person that we are communicating with and that they understand it, then it should not be major issue. With that said I now plan to do my usual Sunday tradition which is to read the Sunday New York Times.

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