Staying On Fleek: What New Words Does 2015 Bring?
Language is constantly morphing and evolving. Everything from hashtags to online shorthand can affect change in our spoken language, and at times these variations happen so subtly that we don’t even realize how much a language can alter from year to year. It’s always fun to guess what language changes will come out of 2015. Will a hashtag be the WOTY (word of the year) like it was in 2014? Will new acronyms be adopted permanently into our dictionaries and, of course, our vernacular? Let’s take a look at some of the changes language has already seen and which words could be considered ‘so 2015’ this time next year!
These days, the place where most newly-minted words gain traction is by going viral online. What does or doesn’t gain popularity can be a matter of luck, as creators of the term oxt weekend know all too well. What is an oxt weekend? Oxt was generated to deal with the confusion surrounding the phrase ‘next weekend.’ If you really think about it, it makes sense as ‘next weekend’ can be taken to mean this one or the one after. Enter the white knight oxt to deal with the issue: it means ‘not this one but the next.’ Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet caught on, despite the supposed confusion most of us face while making weekend plans. When it comes to asking why oxt hasn’t gained traction, the only sure thing we can say is that maybe the world isn’t quite ready for it.
Even if you don’t think oxt is such an important word that it needs to be added to our vocabulary, there are multiple words created on a daily basis for the sheer purpose of helping humans to express things which would otherwise be unsayable. Words like monachopsis (the persistent feeling of being out of place) serve to express emotions for which we have no words, while words such as choffee (to chat over coffee) seem to be a logical unification of words to express more than one action happening at the same time. (By the way, if choffee takes off, remember you heard it here first.) The purpose of new language seems largely manufactured to make life simpler. After all, if we can express entire thoughts with a single emoji, isn’t it better to have one word replace what would be an otherwise complex sentence?
Of course, changes in language aren’t always geared towards making life easier. A stunning example of how sometimes the most bizarre language can gain popularity for no apparent reason is the phrase running rampant throughout 2015 so far: on fleek. Although on fleek has been around since 2003, it wasn’t until very recently that we first saw people using it in such a widespread manner. This year it’s become that term everyone knows but no one really understands; its basic meaning (from what we can garner) is that something is perfectly executed or on point (e.g. “Your hair is on fleek.”) No one really knows how this particular phrase went viral, but before we knew it celebrities were throwing it around and the rest of humanity simply followed suit. Why people can’t simply stick to saying on point instead of on fleek is a question only the internet gods know the answer to, but it definitely shows how fickle language can be.
Every time we accept a new word or phrase into our language, this also means that others tend to get pushed out. Let’s not forget the heroes of yore; 2014’s most popular words which this year are oh-so not cool anymore. Bae (a term of affection similar to ‘babe’), swag (a style or attitude), and foodie (someone who loves food) are all supposed to be a thing of the past, so you may need to make some changes to your vocabulary. The short-lived popularity of most of these words surely points to how quickly trends, and language trends in particular, change. There’s no way to control it or alter its course, so sometimes it’s just good to go with the flow – unless you don’t mind sounding slightly outdated!
Languages are fascinating creatures rich with surprises and new additions at every turn. Keeping up with language changes from around the globe is just as important as making sure you’re using the right slang in your native tongue. Discover the intricacies of a new language by contacting us about top-tier language classes and take your slang skills to a whole new level by staying up-to-date on foreign language trends too. Keep your language abilities on fleek with free online language level tests and be ready to face whatever new words 2015 will bring!