So, apparently people are freaking out a little bit that unfriend is the 2009 Oxford Word of the Year. I suppose that it is a little disappointing that we have to refer to Facebook in order to find new words. But the criteria for the Word of the Year was just that it had to to be new or newly popular, and that it had to have some longevity and linguistic currency. I think unfriend fits well (although I usually use the derivation defriend). It is quite popular, considering the upwelling of individuals on Facebook (my mom, my pastor, Dustin’s grandmother…You name it). It is quite demanding to expect that the Word of the Year is going to be some beautiful new adjective or verb, considering that the vocabulary of the language is pretty much set, with the exception of new technological terms. However, I don’t know if friend has ever been chosen as a Word of the Year or a finalist…I think that friending someone is a more popular verb than unfriending them. The Christian Science Monitor just put out an article entitled, “‘Unfriend’ as word of the year? Is 2009 so cold?”. It’s true…we have gone cold. I occasionally go on Facebook “de-friending” sprees, where I delete all of those people I felt bad about not accepting to be my friends, but I don’t really know them and never interact with them on Facebook.
Oh, and can I just quickly state something about Facebook etiquette? I don’t care that you play Farm-Ville or Uno, or take a bazillion quizzes…But could you please not post them as a status update? I don’t care who’s sheep you found or what your new high score is…It makes Facebook a very distracting place, kind of diluting its stalking-pleasurability. To find out if someone dumped someone else, I have to sift through a gazillion people’s posts! I have become a Twitter-convert.
Quite frankly, I got more joy out of the Oxford spokesperson using the word lex-appeal to describe why they chose unfriend. LEX-APPEAL IS AN AWESOME TERM.
And also related to the field of linguistics…Andy Samberg as Ras Trent. Hilarious. My friend Kim showed this in a presentation about Language and Crossing in my Language and Identity class.