People for the Ethical Treatment of Words (PETW) is making news again. The group, which was founded about a week ago by Gertrude Salinger, released a list of endangered words and is asking the country to rally behind them in order to avoid, or at least delay, extinction.
The word house is drawing the most attention. “A house should be called a house, not a crib,” says PETW. The organization explains that a crib is a piece of furniture that an infant sleeps on. “We just think,” Salinger argues, “that if society refers to a person’s domicile by words other than what it actually is, we run the risk of sounding like idiots.”
Elvis Kalinowski, author of My Hizzy is the Shizzy, fires back, “PETW is trying to keep a brutha down by stifling his 5th amendment rights!” PETW counters, “Doesn’t Mr. Kalinowski mean his first amendment rights? We would also like to go on record that he misspelled brother.” Kalinowski says that making up his own words is “nobody’s bid-ness but his bid-ness!”
PETW is also targeting members of the texting community. Texting poses the biggest threat to the English language as we now know it. People who text may do more harm than good because they dismantle words and spit them out as acronyms, also known as literary rubble. LOL for laugh out loud and OMG for oh my god are two examples.
MPS (formerly Mackenzie Penelope Smith) is the award-winning author of the best-selling novel, Txt This! She defends her right to drop useless letters and make words illegible. “When I first heard of PETW’s claims, I was like OMG! Then I LOL. Then I TXT my BFF and she said OMG after she LOL. PETW is WAK!”
PETW has nothing against texting as long as the people doing the texting consult a dictionary every once in a while. Salinger states, “every few years the people at Webster’s and other fine makers of dictionaries update their books with new words. If made-up phrases and acronyms make the cut, the dictionary will become too heavy to transport. They would have to include warning labels like MUST BE ABLE TO LIFT 50 LBS. People who are interested in looking up words may incur back injuries.”
One could argue with Salinger that online dictionaries are viable alternatives to the hard-bound dictionaries we have lugged around since college, but she makes some valid points.
The future of words is not entirely bleak. Some prominent organizations are attempting to reach an understanding. A mediation group called Letters That Stand Together (LTST) believes that everyone engaged in the art of communicating can find common ground. The organization held a luncheon yesterday in Washington, DC. Shepherd’s Pie was on the menu. Salinger, Kalinowski and the affable acronym, MPS, were in attendance. They had nothing but wonderful things to say about the affair. “It’s a start,” says Salinger. Kalinowski praised the Shepherd’s Pie. MPS concurred with an overly emphatic “O-M-G!”
Regardless of how people communicate, it’s important that we keep talking.
Now, who can tell me what Shepherd’s Pie is? I know, I know. But I’m going to need help lifting it!