|Saturday, July 19, 2003||
expectancy has shown an increase all over the world. As more and more
people live on beyond the age of seventy or eighty, language users
have to create new words to deal with situations that were rare
earlier but are common today. Language, as in all other situations, is
again the gainer and takes on more neologisms, especially words to do
with aging and the elderly. The floridisation of the world, solely an
American concept till the recent past, is a global reality today,
which means more American creations will enter the lexicon.
Floridisation refers to the trait of a specific geographical area;
showing a rapidly increasing percentage of senior citizens. According
to the 2000 census, the percentage of people aged 65 and over in the
USA is 12.4. In Florida, the percentage of those who are 65-plus is
17.6, the highest in any state, thus giving the word ‘floridisation’.
Elder has been used as a noun and an adjective but today, it has also emerged as a verb, perhaps pointing towards the more active role the aged now play in the world. Sharing wisdom and knowledge with people who are younger than one is to ‘elder’ them. In Sun-Sentinel (April 7, 1995), Rabbi Chaim Richter voices the opinion of today: ‘Thus, we affirm the success of eldering or "saging," not aging. Although we admire and love our young, significant wisdom lies with our elders.’ This leads onto the whole concept of the aging process in which people remain active physically and mentally. A visit to any park or recreational facility is enough to show that today’s senior citizen lives whole-heartedly the idea of active ageing. The U.N. regularly organises conferences on active ageing.
The purpose of such activities is to encourage the seniors to live life to the lees, a concept that is catching on in India, but gradually. Where earlier the word was newlyweds, today it is elderweds, to refer to all those people who get married later in life. A related word is familymoon, the honeymoon in which the bride and groom also bring their children from previous marriages.
The Hindi word vansh has
its root in Sanskrit word vaans. It meant bamboo. Vaans
later became baans, and the self-propagating nature of the bamboo
plant was adopted as vansh to mean family tree. For example, Ram
was from Suryavansh. Vansh also means the thick middle portion of
the blade of a sword, a portion of the nose and is also another name for