How's your vocabulary? Mine isn't what it used to be. These days I find I'm searching for some word that used to come pretty easily to me, but now it can pop up in a new form. Instead of my mind remembering the correct term, I add or delete some syllables, change things around so listeners have a sense of what I am saying even if they don't quite recognize the word. Sometimes those neologisms capture the essence of something. Other times they earn raised eyebrows.
Regardless of the state of your vocabulary and employment of neologisms, I imagine there are some new words that made their way into our speech that were not in existence the year before. I have been struck by a couple of these new words and in case you managed to not have them pop up on your radar I thought I would share them.
Let’s start with my least favorite new word – broflake. Know what it means? If you don’t you might think it has something to do with a flaky male friend who bailed out on something. At least that was what I thought, but that's not correct. Those of you who keep track of the far-right, might have heard them use the word “snowflake” to ridicule the sensitive nature of liberal tree-huggers. “Brokflake” is the liberal back at you insult when the far-right complain about the progress of women’s rights and call people racist because they don't hold caucasians in higher esteem than other races.
I'm not an advocate of name-calling as it is often diminishing, stereotyping and usually not welcomed. That we have labels for political mudslinging is nothing new, but I was raised in the hope that there would be peace and tolerance on earth. And perhaps there is more of that than there ever was, but with social media flaming our differences it is hard to tell. I just know the vitriol with which people hold others with differing views does not bode well for greater peace. Like others, I'm reacting to the impulsive tweets which are spread like wildfire and then, hopefully, after their fifteen minutes fade away.
I'm not sure if I will be using snowflake or broflake in my exchanges this year, but you never know. I’m more likely to be using youthquake, which won the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year. This is defined as “a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.” It is comforting to know that young people are once again getting involved in the political/cultural/social process. I suppose I'm part of the oldquake who still are invested in changing things for the better. I’m a long time believer in Eldridge Cleaver’s maxim that “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.”
Let’s hope the youthquake and the oldquake can meet up with the middle-agedquake and do some positive flaking for change.