Other day, as I was watching a sitcom, I reflected, how meanings of some words have changed over the years.
The sitcom was about celebrities talking about their pets. Each celebrity was telling us how great his/her pet was. It could do this, it could do that. It was such a great companion. Some of them even let us know how their pets were closer to them than their sons and daughters. A vet was also part of the show and was giving his expert interpretation on some of the seemingly aberrant behavior of some of the pets.
Have you noticed how the prefix up has permeated our world. Slowly from lowly words like upwards, uplift we have shifted gears to the corporate argot of upsell, upmarket, upside, upturn, upswing and whole lot of other uppy words.
What has happened? Why are we prefixing up to all sorts of nouns...
The long held view that you are losing it once you step into the forties is being turned on its head. In fact, not only are the middle aged not losing it, they can refurbish their brain with practice and patience. The old view that 40% of your brain cells are lost has been laid to rest. So for the forty somethings, the fifty somethings and the sixty somethings there is enough to rejoice. Barbara Strauch writing in New York times talks about Dr Burke's research on 'tots' or tip-of-the-tongue phenomena and I quote: One explanation for how this occurs comes from Deborah M. Burke, a professor of psychology at Pomona College in California. Dr. Burke has done research on “tots,” those tip-of-the-tongue times when you know something but can’t quite call it to mind. Dr. Burke’s research shows that such incidents increase in part because neural connections, which receive, process and transmit information, can weaken with disuse or age.
Language guides you through the labyrinth of communication. It is well known that the more your facility with language, the more the chances that you would not need to grope through this labyrinth. Negotiation comes easier to you. Putting your point across becomes a breeze. Is it a wonder that companies are spending huge amounts of money that their employees right down the company hierarchy have keener language acuity? But did you know that recent evidence shows that continuously challenging ourselves to gain more facility with language inhibits brain atrophy?
It may come as a shock that a lot of folks aren’t able to read the Time magazine. Why? Because they are hamstrung by their limited vocabulary. Let’s take the case of Time magazine’s May 25, 2009 Asia Pacific edition. In this edition we came across the following thirty six words among others: