A Slip of the Tongue

Tiffany Collier

It is interesting to see the change in speech as it spans the generations. Though it’s the same language, words tend to take on an entirely different meaning with each passing year.

In grade school and even on into my sophomore year of high school, I had vocabulary assignments. There were words in there that I had never even seen before. But for one reason or another, they had become a part of the English language.

When I began playing online games such as Perfect World and Lord of the Rings Online, I began to be exposed to what seemed like an entirely new language. Once again, the changing times had also called for a change in the way people used language.

Now, this chat language also has another name: texting language. Most people know at least bits and pieces of it. It seems to be an infectious sort of language, as certain people I have met over the last few years have gone so far as to incorporate it into their daily speech and writing. I discovered this when my AP English teacher my senior year of high school had to tell us in class that it wasn’t acceptable to use texting language in our essays. (Fancy that!)

Another sort of language that has taken precedence in modern speech is what is known as cursing or cussing. I doubt I need to give examples of this sort of language. When I was young, my mother made it clear to me that such words were not acceptable to use…ever.

However, never has this idea been put into better perspective than in an incident that happened while I was playing Lord of the Rings Online. That evening there was a football game going on. The chat box was solid talk about the game. I rarely chat, but I often keep my eye on the chat box none-the-less.

The game had ended when one conversation began that caught my eye. Some people were arguing about which team was better and it had begun to get very personal. One person in particular had begun to cuss.

Occasionally a comment would pop up saying, “Does anyone know how to turn off chat?”

I wasn’t the only one getting uncomfortable with the talk.

It was then that one brave soul piped up, saying that there was no need to cuss.

The person guilty of the foul language replied, “Cussing is just a way to express one’s emotions.”

I’ll never forget the other person’s reply. They simply said, “For a person with no vocabulary.”

Now, I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes, nor do I claim that I myself have perfectly clean speech 100% of the time. When I bang my knee on the desk, accidentally drop my computer from the top bunk, or run into door frames, I have the bad habit of saying things I probably shouldn’t.

This conversation in the chat box, however, got me to thinking about the way I talk. As a writer, I should have a fairly decent vocabulary. Therefore, surely there is something else I can find to say in place of certain other words. After all, I don’t want to limit myself, right?

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