I’m not saying that English is going to be the world language…(although in some ways–Business, the Internet–it already is), I’m just saying it rocks so much, mainly for the reason that Barbara Wallraff exmplifies every month on the last page of The Atlantic in her “Word Fugitives” section: it’s playful, flexible, malleable.
You can invent new words at will because it’s such a bastard language. If you don’t believe me, read “Mother Tongue” by Bill Bryson. Fantastic! It’s a biography of the English language filled with cool facts and history, endlessly entertaining (makes a case for English as the world language).
Anyway. About “Word Fugitives”…People write in, like this month’s Gerry Poster of Greenville, S.C. requesting a new word to describe the “intense and absolute skill or knowledge that is required to operate something technological and that will become worthless when a newer program or machine is sold.”
The answers are published the following month, and the people whose invented words or puns get published are credited and receive autographed books.
This month, they published terms to describe the “heap of stuff that new parents find themselves toting around with their baby”, and the words sent in were very cute: (this is a little wink to all you new parents out there… :-)