21 January 2010


I noticed a year ago, maybe more, the use in sportswriting of the word props, meaning "congratulations," as in, "I wanna give props to my teammates for..." Today, I saw the word in a non-sports newsforum. I can think of no abbreviation or other word from whence it came. Can any of you?

To those who complain of the supposed bastardization of language, I beg to differ, in that all living languages are in constant flux, so in that sense are being bastardized. To wit: Could we not contend that current English, everywhere, is a bastardization of what came before? How far back do we go for "pure" English--to Late Middle, or further back to Pre-Norman?

Middle English, I believe, had gender forms like Spanish and French still do now. Southern black Americans, mostly rural, use the verb form "be" before a participle. They say, "She be talkin' 'bout me." Is this incorrect? Of course not. In fact, it is rather Shakespearean, a relic of an earlier English used by the Bard.

And, how could we not delight in new words, such as fleeancee (f.) and fleeance (m.) for a bride or groom who flees just before nuptials? And, the wonderful whizzinator device--a penile apparatus with urine preinstalled for fooling a drug test? Then, there's cyber-Monday. Do we not need new terms for new societal situations? How about latch-key kid and blended family?

The lexicon changes and so does grammar. There's the Appalachian relic grammatical feature of placing an "a-" in front of a participle or other verb form. I know people in Kentucky who say, "I got a-holt of a bad bottle of 'shine!" (Just kidding about the moonshine!) And, you might hear, "Come a-caroling with us Christmas Eve.'"

Anyway, language is alive, reflecting a people's history, and is their supreme achievement. And, it does inexorably change.

Props to all my cyberfriends. Y'all be a-goin' strong!

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