When E-nough’s Enough

Blind Freddie couldn’t miss the changes creeping into our language. Slowly but surely we’re reading and writing about the world of dotcoms broadband, bandwidth and digitech.
It’s world prefaced with i’s, e’s and d’s – of d-TV, DVD, HTML. Words like d-entertainment, e-books and i-opener. Of software and middleware, of thinkpads, desktops, handhelds, hotmail, email and dual scans.
If this all feels like overload from time to time – don’t worry.
As quick as the techno brigade is writing the new dictionary for the 21st century, the PC brigade has been getting rid of the language it doesn’t want future generations to use.
To wit – in the UK “slaving over the hot stove” has been outlawed on the grounds it minimises the horror of the slave trade; “taking the Mickey” is also outlawed, because it’s anti-Irish; “history” because some might find it sexist; and “lady/gentleman” has class implications.
One of Britain’s oldest dishes is no longer politically correct, and one restaurant was persuaded to rename their “Spotted Dick” pudding Richard, in order to comply with EU regulations.
The multinational and multifaith society in which we live is one of the drivers of the changing language. English civil servants have scrapped the phrase “Anno Domini” in favour of the politically correct “common era” because AD meaning the “Year of our Lord” is inappropriate in multifaith society.
The list goes on – “sissy” is banned as homophobic, sniffer dogs have become indicating dogs, assault courses have become confidence courses, some people have called for the ban of “snowman” because they’re white, invariably male, and stand outside in the public domain (inferring females stay in the kitchen).
There’s probably whole volume of banned words and phrases and sentiments in existence by now, and with the passing of these words goes lot of “history” for better or worse.
It’s interesting then to think what history – or its replacement word – will make of text messaging as the ultimate minimalist form of communication.

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