I have a hobbyist level interest in linguistics, and one of the things I find most fascinating about language is the way it changes. Modern English provides us with some pretty stunning examples. I think they tend to fall into two categories. There are abuses that are just plain wrong and should be severely dealt with, many of which can be found in our media (and political speeches). These stem mainly from a lack of proper education, or just plain lack of attention. I was a bit shocked to here Dr. Rice, in her confirmation hearings, talk about the “dismantlement” of our nuclear missiles. This would be abuse.
On the other hand, there are innovative uses of language that, IMHO, grow our language in interesting ways. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and one of the biggest reasons I love the show is for it’s innovative use of language. There’s a cool page over at PBS right now about “Slayer Slang” and some of the innovative linguistic tidbits to come out of BtVS. As but one small example, when told that something was “pointless”, Buffy responds “it’s totally pointy!” That’s innovative use of language, and I think it should be applauded.
Given that, I was happy to see Wil Wheaton start a post today with the word “Embiggened”. Is it a word? No. Should it be? Maybe. Is it evocative and interesting? Most definitely.