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We, the Tweeple: Why Twitter Inspires So Many New Words

twitter is inspiring a whole new language, and soon its words will become as standard as hashtag. it enlarges the tech vocabulary, enabling us to expand one vocabulary. but a caveat is that it may perhaps disable us with what proper grammar and language should look like in English.

NewsFeed

Public relations firm Burson-Marsteller released its annual “Twiplomacy” report today. An analysis of how world leaders use Twitter, the name is the baby born of obvious parents: Twitter and diplomacy. It’s also a soldier in an army of fusion words—or portmanteaus—inspired by the social media site.

Every day, new combinations march into being. Twitteracy is the ability to understand the medium. Twittebrities are the A-listers who use it. Twitterati, Twittersphere, tweeple, tweetup, twisticuffs, twelete, twirting. There’s no question that there are a twitload. But why, exactly, is Twitter such a fusion muse? And will any of them last?

Linguist Ben Zimmer theorizes that these words keep cropping up because the “tw-” intro is so distinctive. After the name of the platform inspired the name of its central unit—the tweet—early adopters had a formula they could use and reuse, he says. The name Twitter is also “playful and distinctive,” he…

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2 Comments

  1. Diditi says:

    I don’t tweet! This risk of ‘losing the language’ began with texting, no? And, social media in general is not so vigilant about the mechanics of any language.

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