Them’s fighting words


For as much as I lament the loss of traditional English grammar and the rise of chat-speak in everyday conversation and writing, English as an ever-changing organism is just tops. Look how words can change meaning depending on context! Marvel at how words go in and out of vogue faster than skinny jeans! One of my favorite private hobbies is single-handedly trying to rescue a word from cultural obscurity by making it popular again. Right now I think I’m going to work on bringing “bodacious” back. Watch me fail spectacularly.

However, the best part about language is the capability to create neologisms, or new words. All you have to do is string some morphemes together, define it and suddenly the word becomes law. Sound familiar? That’s the same power God has. In the Bible. Did I just freak your mind? No?

When I was younger, my friends and I set out on an intellectual quest. We were going to create some new words, use them all the time, and get our whole group of friends to say them. We wanted to infiltrate the subconscious of our peers, and get them to speak the language that we invented. We figured we were using our power as clique leaders of the loser group for good rather than for evil, and this cause was right up there with helping the homeless. Two gems came out of this meeting of the minds:

Dubspew (v): to vomit in one’s mouth, swallow it, and vomit again. To be used when something is particularly distasteful. I totes dubspewed when I saw Tim groping Tonya.

Vipe (adj).: Pleasing or trendy. That new butterfly clip is so vipe, girl!

Our friends’ subconsciouses were stronger than we had anticipated; the words didn’t catch on (though my friends and I still use dubspew to a degree). But it was a noble effort for a linguistic takeover.

But we all make our own words all the time. No place is our neologism-making more prolific or creative than in the creation of swears and insults. I consider myself particularly adept at that, naturally. Just driving the other night, another car cut me off, and in my blinding rage, I screamed, “You fucking twatternacht!”

What’s a twatternacht? Nacht means “night” in German, and twat means “twat”. So “twat night”?” That means nothing. Etymology is a dead science where neologisms are concerned. Context is everything.

Nevertheless, I’ll tell you what twatternacht means:

Twatternacht (n.): A typical ignorant douchebag marked with aggressive assholeishness.  I can’t believe that twatternacht stole my cat!

Can also be used in the expletive. Oh, twatternacht! I left my keys in the ignition!

Yes, fake words like twatternacht remind me that language is just the coolest thing ever. No, I don’t regret majoring in English and Linguistics at all—it makes me be all meta with neologism-creation. So there.

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