Monday, November 2, 2009

Word Loss

I recently read a book that used the word "carrion."

I was thinking about this today as I brushed my teeth, and I thought....in fifty years, will people use or know the word "carrion"? I mean...it was the first time I'd come across that word in....oh, I don't know, 10 years? Maybe not since my college days, where I had more time to read books. And now that I am done with grad school, I have time once again.

But I get the sense that people don't read anymore, not like they used to. So...isn't it entirely possible that we are losing words constantly, as they fall out of favor and it gets to the point that most of the population don't know what they mean?

Somehow, this made me sad. I wonder how many 15 year olds these days know what "carrion" means.

7 comments:

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I'd be willing to bet that a fair proportion of them think it's something you take onto an airplane.

Alyssa said...

I consider myself an avid reader, and I'll admit that I had to look that word up. But now I know it!

I am afraid that our words will be lost, and that our language as a whole will degrade into LOLs, ROFLs, and WTFs :P

Eugenie said...

Maybe it's a bio thing? I don't find the word to be too exotic.. but then again, I'm studying for an animal behavior exam and just finished reviewing a study done with ravens and carrion.... (nice post timing! ha!)

Nicky said...

With or without regular reading, I think that most people's vocabulary expands throughout life. I consider myself fairly well read, but I still come across words all the time that I don't know. Often in conversation with my husband, whose vocabulary is insane; I'm an educated person, but seriously, he makes me feel like a complete idiot.

This weekend, he taught me the word "gelid." Who the hell uses that in normal conversation?

The lab pixie said...

I used to babysit for this kid whose parents were fairly, well off. Actually, they were wealthy. Let's just call a spade a spade.

At the age of ten, this child didn't know what coal was.

I kid you not.

There's alot more than just words going to be lost...

PhysioProf said...

The English language also continues to add words at an impressive rate.

microbiologist xx said...

Word loss, I can tolerate. What I can't tolerate is someone speaking to me as if they are text messaging. Use your words people.