I have a hobby. It’s actually closer to a habit. Every time I hear a word I don’t know, I look it up. I like to find the origins of words and phrases. Have you ever said something and realized that you had no idea what it meant? We all use colloquial phrases that have been used for generations without knowing what the hell they mean. I find myself saying phrases that my grandmother used without having any idea of their origin. And then, there are words that really don’t sound like real words that actually are:
adjective ( snarkier, snarkiest) informal
(of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide : the kid who makes snarky remarks in class.
• cranky; irritable : Bobby’s always a bit snarky before his nap.
The definition is perfectly suitable to the word’s sound. It is almost onomatopoeic. This English vocabulary of ours is such an amalgamation of different languages and cultures, it’s amazing that anyone can actually learn it. It makes me sad that people today are so careless with their words. There are some fascinating words in the English language, but if you choose to use them, you either sound like a snob or a smart-ass. A sentence ended without a preposition sounds too formal or just plain weird. “To whom should I address this dialectical issue?”
Your average contemporary American would have a hard time following the Gettysburg Address. When it was originally recited, it was received with applause. It’s not that Lincoln used verbose or perplexing words; it’s the way in which he put them together. Personally, I believe television, spell check, text messaging and all the modern conveniences of daily life have dumbed-down the population. Compare George W. Bush to Abraham Lincoln. Bush was the president of this great nation for eight years, after all. If that’s not dumbing down, then I don’t know what is.
H & R Block had an ad campaign with the tag line “You got people.”
You got people? What does that even mean? I got people, you got people, we all got people that can’t even put three measly words together correctly. Obviously, I don’t expect the population to carry dictionaries around with them, but it would be nice if major corporations didn’t flaunt the fact that Americans are stupid on billboards.
I leave you with this:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”