Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Well, you better update your Office and internet spell checker to accept unfriend as a word again. It seems that this little piece of language garbage has made its way back into the world of the printed and vocal world. I blame the internet. Namely Facebook and Myspace. Since you have used it to define how you will remove a friend, the fine folks at the dictionary decided to just make Unfriend an official word

Many years ago there was a very successful ad campaign for the "un-cola." It sold lots of pop. Now there is another "un" word in the news and it's raising lots of questions. The word is "unfriend."

"Unfriend" has nothing to do with traditional friendly relationships. It's all about "friends" on those social networks like Facebook, or test friends, or Twitter pals. And now unfriend has been named the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary. It's a verb and it means to remove a friend on a social network.

Professor Craig Sirles of DePaul University studies languages and doesn't like the word but says it could be around for a long time, but he said beside that not to worry about it.

"I don't think this is a death knell at all for the English language," Sirles said. "I think what it does is it reflects a very, very popular cultural phenomenon that's going on among the 12 to 30 set."

And Sirles said that's O.K.

So there you have it. Way to ruin the English language folks. Isn't it bad enough that it already has such terrible rules. I before E.. except after C and blah blah blah. There's way too many rules to the English language that we buck on a daily basis, this one just sort of feels a little numb.

The dictionary is defining the verb as 'To remove someone as a "friend" on a social networking site such as Facebook. As in "I decided to unfriend my roommate after we had a fight." So we are letting society dictate our vocabulary. Oh what am I saying, that was always the case. I wonder if we're going to be living in the world full of poor grammar in a good 100 years.

But this does reflect the nature of social networking sites and how much of an impact they have on our every day life. Just recently this lady was fired because of her facebook photos.

ATLANTA (MyFOX ATLANTA) - A former Barrow County teacher said Tuesday that she was fired because of pictures and comments posted on her personal Facebook page. Ashley Payne said she is now suing to get her job back.

School teacher Ashley Payne posted pictures of her summer trip to Europe and detailed fun excursions with friends on her Facebook page, never imagining it would one day put her job in jeopardy.

"I wasn't doing anything illegal, I wasn't doing anything provocative," said Payne.

This has become such an issue that there's proposals to make facebook snooping illegal or not grounds for termination.

Bosses who check out their employees’ or job applicants’ Facebook or Twitter pages could get into trouble under a new federal law that protects workers’ genetic information and medical histories.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which went into effect Nov. 20, bars employers and health insurance providers from discriminating against individuals based on their genetic information and personal and family medical histories. The federal law is aimed at protecting an employee from getting fired or not hired because, for example, their boss finds out they have a genetic disposition toward a certain disease.

So I suppose the impact that these websites are making sure is pretty big. But maybe I have other issues with this being word of the year. I mean, it's the start of December and we're already getting to these silly end of the year list? How about we wait another month before we start declaring words of a full year. It's the only fair thing to do, I have to say.

And does this mean I can toss this into my next scrabble game? I mean, I guess it may get some sort of flak because it is one of those UN words, which the book says you can't use. But in this case, it's how the dictionary defines it as it's own word. Not one that you're simply putting UN in front of.

It makes me wonder how many times I've used it in a sentence. I mean, I've unfriended exgirlfriends before, but that was because their comments on my life and their need to but their heads into my business and act as if it was still close to a decade ago and that they still even have a remote chance of knowing the modern me seemed pretty much annoying. That and the constant "Remember when...." stuff that just screams that you're living in the past.

But then again, there's the idea that sometimes I unfriend people because it's a matter of not caring about every update you post and that you're posting a lot of them. Eventually if I don't care about what you're saying and I haven't talked to you in ages, then what's the point?

It's like those people who brag about having thousands of friends on their list of friends and who maybe only talked to... 1% of those people. It's just.. one of those things that those folks should really purge their friends list and start unfriending a lot of people. A lot of which they really aren't friends with.

Maybe the term is just wrong in itself. You never really were friends. You knew of each other. Maybe you've exchanged some verbal exchange in the middle some where. But you really can't say you were much of a friend. How about detagging someone you were in association with? That seems like it makes more sense.

Then again, it's just a silly application that will have the term ceasing to exist in a couple of years. According to Time magazine, here's the list of words taken out of the 2008 edition;
  • AbstergentCleansing.
  • AgresticRural.
  • ApodeicticUnquestionably true by virtue of demonstration.
  • CaducityPerishableness.
  • CaliginosityDimness.
  • CompossiblePossible in coexistence with something else.
  • EmbrangleTo confuse.
  • ExuviateTo shed.
  • FatidicalProphetic.
  • FubsySquat.
  • GriseousSomewhat grey.
  • MalisonA curse.
  • MansuetudeGentleness.
  • MuliebrityThe condition of being a woman.
  • NidderingCowardly.
  • NitidBright.
  • OlidFoul-smelling.
  • OppugnantCombative.
  • PeriaptAn amulet.
  • RecrementRefuse.
  • RoborantTending to fortify.
  • SkirrA whirring sound, as of the wings of birds in flight.
  • VaticinateProphesy.
  • VilipendTo treat with contempt.

I would ask if we could still have a moment of silence for them.

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