Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Phrases New & Old

Post by NCW Member Darlene Mueller Morse

In a couple of days it will be crossover time where we go from one year into the next. In real life, such as in day-to-day conversations, we are not concerned about words, phrases, top-ten this or that lists or other written pieces that seem to proliferate unfettered about the multimedia.

I look at my cats and see that they really don’t give a hoot, or maybe a hiss, about the New Year. It’s all just another day to them. Another chance to chow down at the cat bowl, another chance to slip out the deck door when no one was looking, or another chance to sneak a treat from the chewed-open bag of Catsnackers.

Outside, the trees are deep into their winter phase, limbs bare of leaves and sap at a near standstill. Snow, some even from a week or more ago, covers all the shady spots. More than likely, this snow will carry over into 2010. Snow doesn’t care when it fell or when it melts.

I noticed that the sun sets a tiny bit later in the day than it did just a week ago. It didn’t read the paper to check out when the Solstice occurred. It has its own personal calendar.

But we people, we love our end-of –the-year traditions. Just as we seem to want a “white Christmas” because of some song once penned, we seem to want to categorize the old year and look forward to a new year with all the many possibilities.

For some odd reason, each year that passes is given a label as being some sort of “bad” year and aren’t we glad it’s over and let’s get on to this new year. Almost as another year for us to mess up.

I feel that words are so powerful when they are used to describe the past, the present and the future. Sometimes, there is even controversy as to which words best describe these three phases. What should we call the first decade of the New Millennium? I have a feeling that it will be called the “aughts.” Most of what I have read has used this term. And, as words usually do, once they have gone main stream, they stick. No getting around that fact.

To describe our new year, 2010, is pretty easy. We no longer are faced with that daunting awkwardness that befell us in 2000. Now, we most likely will all say “Twenty-ten.” We are loosened from the odd phrase of adding the “0-something” from our vocabulary. The future dates are poised to be justly called in the same form. However, there is still the feeling of science fiction when thinking or saying or, most importantly, writing about the “future.” 2039? Wow. We can’t imagine that right now. Check with us in a few decades.

I hope that those many lists of phrases to be “dumped” in the new year include this: “making it your own.” Due to the onslaught of all those shows such as “American Idol, this phrase has proliferated. It was supposed to mean something like putting one’s personal stamp on a song or dance that went mainstream. “Ownership” is another similar term. Every day in all sorts of situations, people take things and “make them their own.” This includes probably buying things but also just the act of assimilation. Anytime anyone does something, it pretty much is their own.

My wish for you writers and all the various cogent parts of writing, is that for this next year, Twenty-ten, the phrases and new words that pop up in our vocabulary will be more creative, more inventive and much more interesting than what we have seen in the last decade. Or year. Or whatever, man.

What phrase do you hope disappears forever? Is there a phrase you hope makes a comeback?


Woodswoman d'Italia said...

I have two phrases on my list of "hope never to hear them again". They are "My bad!" and "ginormous"

When I hear them, especially the former spoken by someone over 15, I want to move to a country that only speaks a Maori tongue. In none of those old sacred cultures would they come up with something like "My bad!" Would they? I first heard that from the mouth of a friend, a grown-up who spent 25 years in the medical field before becoming a realtor. Thought I'd been drop kicked back to junior high.

A phrase I'd like to welcome back into civilization? I'll have to peruse my bookshelves to find one of those. Perhaps something to do with solitude.

KT said...

I seriously hope the phrase "it is what it is" falls off the face of the earth!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Nice post, Darlene.

I would love it if people would stop using the word "issues" to mean everything from health conditions to weather advisories.

I still say things are "cool" or "awesome" so I guess I already hang on to the words and phrases I like.

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