Keeping It Fresh: Watching Language Evolve

Kim PierceallCommunicating and Writing, Marketing

Frankly, I can weary of new words bandied about by, let’s face it, marketing departments and gurus and the like. The slangfest can get pretty odd. The whole IBM “ideation” situation leaves me with a serious case of the eye-rolls. But we need to keep those eyes on how people (colleagues, clients, young-ins) around us are really using language. The key to communicating — and marketing — effectively is understanding how your audience talks and walks and hears and reads.

Now, there’s a place to keep track. Check out Word Spy. This little gem of an aggregator minds the words and phrases store for you with entries explaining the thing and showing journalistic examples. It’s not just the latest cutesy term some inter-web scribbler just thunk up, but connects to real-life situations and feelings.

Like last weekend, when my friend said their summer road trip was on hold since the gas prices for toting a family of five was blowing the budget. Lo and behold, seems they may be taking a “staycation,” slang for “stay at home vacation” according to a recent Word Spy entry.  My neighbor used the word just days ago, clever gal.

Keep up to stay in sync with your audience. Just exercise caution to make sure any industry jargon maintains it’s appropriate pea-sized allotment.