Some snippets that I’ve enjoyed lately~
The living language is like a cow-path:
it is the creation of the cows themselves,
who, having created it, follow it or depart from it
according to their whims or their needs.
From daily use, the path undergoes change.
A cow is under no obligation to stay.
-E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)
I just noticed something positively serendipitous. When writing a xanga post, there’s a little symbol on the toolbar for indenting a paragraph. If you hover over it, a handy little help box pops up that says “Indent.” Well…the one beside it, when you hover your mouse, says, “Outdent.”
Outdent????? I have to admit, that’s a new word to me! I just checked a couple of online dictionaries, and one listed it while the other did not. A good example of the fluidity of language–here’s a spot where a few cows have diverged from the path and are trampling a new section.
Xerox occasionally runs ads in major magazines reminding people that Xerox is still a trademark, and asking writers not to use Xerox the trademark as a verb.
Now why doesn’t Xerox just calm down and face the fact that they have achieved the enviable status of becoming a household word? It’s a compliment, folks! I mean, really, how many of us don’t “Google” things, “friend” people on Facebook, and “Photoshop” our pictures, no matter what photo editor we use?
We have used the homeschool curriculum Sonlight for the past several years, and I remember the delight of the founders when they realized that people were talking about “Sonlighting!” It’s definitely a wonderful sign when your brand is used as a verb. So give it a break, Xerox!