Because words: The dialect of 2013

For whatever reason, today’s world is infatuated with anything short, sweet and to the point. From logos evolving into less intricate yet equally recognizable designs to sites like Buzzfeed or Upworthy bringing you information in condensed, easy-to-process articles with pictures, it’s clear we believe the old “less is more” phrase to be true and for most, the simpler the better.

We even want the year as a whole to be summed up into one word. From “selfie” to “twerk,” “slash” to “Obamacare,” there’s been some sort of scramble to decide what word could best describe 2013 and hold true to its title as Word of the Year.

Well, our trusty linguists at the American Dialect Society meet every January to vote on this important word, and this year, they’ve decided on something elegant, progressive, awe-inspiring… “because.”

We can all agree “because” is an important word worthy of such a title. It’s used nearly every day by every person who speaks English, because there’s not really a one-word synonym for it. It’s useful and unavoidable.

Here’s what’s special about the ADS’s reason for choosing the timeless little collection of letters: essentially, Internet-speak.

Because weather. Because no. Because hungry. Because words.

Anyone on the web long enough has caught on to the difference in dialect used there and in real-life. We all read this nonsensical caveman jargon as though it makes sense. It makes sense to those who avidly scroll through the Tumblr and Reddit-esque pages of the Internet.

It’s happening, Doge fans: We sum up our feelings into 3 words or less, completely ignoring syntax or common grammatical courtesy. Behold: society is accepting us at last.

This doesn’t mean our generation is full of idiots who can’t properly form a sentence, but rather one that finds such a thing to be comical.

Additionally, my peers aren’t mindless enough to let this kind of diction overtake serious subject matter like papers, jobs or any other professional scenario. We are capable of fulfilling the simple task of differentiating between what type of demeanor is appropriate in one instance versus another.

So, great. This WOTY choice is an example of society recognizing we’re not the Generation Y dunces running away from progression. The sarcasm radar of the world finally got the new update.

However, not everyone is so comfortable with the direction our language is going, and they certainly don’t see this kind of thing as acceptable. Some might argue that this change is a step backwards and shouldn’t be celebrated.

Our generation is constantly under a microscope in terms of progression, maturity and most everything else. Therefore, it’s important to recognize that this is a different time. Everything is more accessible, more concise and, in some cases, more efficient. It just appears as though language is following suit.

It’s just a word of the year, guys. Dictionary.com, Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster have one, too. There’s something for everyone. That is, if you prefer “selfie,” “privacy” or “science.” The American Dialect Society is simply adjusting to American Dialect (how dare they).

 

 

Reach the columnist at Haley.Tonetti@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @haleytonetti.