Growing fields

Play a while

According to a rough estimate, nearly a billion SMS or text messages are sent everyday, with the number growing rapidly by the minute. Due to the brevity of the medium and the speed required, text-message speak has created a special and distinct vocabulary for itself. Here are a few samples, to set the ball rolling. OMG stands for ‘Oh my god’. IMO means ‘in my opinion’ and NMJCHAY stands for ‘not much, just chilling, how about you?’ Another addition is the emoticon that is an entirely new way of representing meaning. They are also called smileys because the earliest emoticon was a smiley face. Today, there are complex additions like: # for ‘keep a secret’, (:-( for ‘frowning’ and @:-} for ‘new haircut’.

Learn a little

The area of commerce has given a large number of new words to English due to its fast-changing fields. In tune with e-commerce (commercial activity through the Internet), there is m-commerce (through mobile phones), t-commerce (via interactive TV), d-commerce (via digital technology) and v-commerce (by means of voice recognition). The latest addition is very colourful. Bangalore’s reputation as a hi-tech city has recently suffered due to scam, pollution and downsizing. This stands immortalised in the phrase ‘to be bangalored’ meaning ‘to be laid off’.

Intriguing words

In capsule form, words spell out the history of man’s desires; the word ‘elixir’ that today means ‘the quintessence of something, its secret principle’ has stood for different things at various stages of human history. The word comes from the Greek ‘xerion’ meaning ‘powder for drying wounds’. When alchemy was a passion, an elixir was a preparation that was attributed with the power to change metals into gold. Later on, when man thought about disease, an elixir was a type of tincture used by quacks; leading on to the phrase ‘elixir of life’, thought to grant immortality.

Precise usage

A troop is a unit of armored soldiers or scouts but a troupe is a company of actors or performers. Hence, a trooper is a soldier or, figuratively speaking, a brave person and a trouper is a member of a performing group or figuratively, a loyal person.